A standing ovation went on for more than a minute and many tears were shed at the BC Country Music Association’s annual awards celebration this weekend, as close to 800 people paid tribute to a Maple Ridge man who lost his life in the mass shooting earlier this month in Vegas.
Among his many attributes, Jordan McIldoon will be remembered as a devoted country music fan. He was among 59 killed while attending a country music concert on the Vegas strip Oct. 1, and his family was in the crowd at the BCCMAs at the Hard Rock Casino on Sunday night.
Langley singer Karen Lee Batten, who herself was honoured Sunday for always being so anxious to step up and help out with worthwhile projects, confessed that one of her “good deeds” spill over onto the stage near the end of the awards show.
“I paused for a moment and said, ‘I know we all witnessed the horrific tragedy that happened in Vegas. We lost one of our own from Maple Ridge, and he was a true country fan,” said Batten, who was co-hosting the awards ceremony.
“I explained that I had the honour of singing at the celebration [of life for Jordan], and that the family I met was like no other… so much love, so much strength. I then told everyone that I extended an invite to his mom [Angela], dad [Al], and girlfriend [Amber], totally not knowing if they would come. But they did. All three are with us tonight,” Batten recounted.
“That was really all I needed to say,” she added, noting everyone was on their feet.
“It was absolutely amazing. Not many dry eyes,” Batten said, explaining for Black Press how she had unexpectedly befriended the family just the day before McIldoon’s service.
She first received a call from her friends, Langley’s Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski of the Twins Cancer Fundraising, and was asked if she would perform at his celebration of life. Then, later that night she received a call from McIldoon’s mother, Angela.
“With a huge lump in my throat I said ‘of course, I would be absolutely honoured’,” Batten said.
“I cannot even begin to explain what that day was like. I watch a room full of people, who were so full of love, so full of strength, and believe it or not a lot of laughter. I was and still am in such awe of the amazing souls Jordan has around him. It made me realize how awesome [he] was. I did not know Jordan or his family before that day, but I now feel that I have friends and family for life.”
She subsequently, with Angela’s permission, produced a tribute video and posted it.
“This terrible tragedy truly will not break this group. and I love the message Angela (Mommy) is living by #loveconquershate,” Batten said.
“Love you all, and RIP Jordan Seymour McIldoon, you clearly will never be forgotten,” the Langley singer concluded.