Gar­rett ‘a breath of fresh air’

Par­ents and sib­lings of Gar­rett Mills re­mem­ber him with heart­felt, in­spi­ra­tional mes­sages

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - STEPH CROSIER

With a sad smile, David Mills told the con­gre­ga­tion of sup­port­ers on Fri­day morn­ing that his son, Gar­rett Mills, was any­thing but av­er­age, “ex­cept maybe some of his grades.”

“Gar­rett has never had a sin­gle ar­gu­ment with us … ever,” David said at his son’s Service of Cel­e­bra­tion on Fri­day. “We never once had to dis­ci­pline him, not even a time-out, he’s never ut­tered a swear word, never around us, his sib­lings or his friends, and de­spite some teas­ing from his peers, he never fell to peer pres­sure. …

“Gar­rett had the abil­ity to no­tice the beauty in­side of peo­ple be­fore he no­ticed the ex­ter­nal.”

Gar­rett died on May 12 while with his girl­friend, Joanna Holtz, and best friend, Josh Hen­der­son, at King Street Park in Na­pa­nee. The Of­fice of the On­tario Coro­ner is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death. He was 15.

On Fri­day, fam­ily, friends, peers and col­leagues of the fam­ily filled the Evan­gel Tem­ple in Na­pa­nee for Gar­rett’s fu­neral. The service was also streamed on­line on Face­book, where as of Fri­day af­ter­noon it had gar­nered more than 4,000 views.

Dur­ing David’s words of re­mem­brance, he and Gar­rett’s mother, Gwen Mills, thanked ev­ery­one who had shown them sup­port dur­ing the most dif­fi­cult time of their lives. They es­pe­cially thanked those who have reached out over so­cial me­dia, not­ing that while they’ve read the mes­sages, it’s been dif­fi­cult to re­spond to all of them.

David par­tic­u­larly wanted to thank emer­gency work­ers, in­clud­ing paramedics and the staff at the Len­nox and Ad­ding­ton County Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, who tried to save Gar­rett, and the On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice for be­ing so gen­er­ous with their time and al­ways only be­ing a phone call away.

“I can’t say enough about the com­pas­sion that was ex­tended to us dur­ing a very fran­tic time,” David said. “A huge thanks to Gar­rett’s best friend since kinder­garten, Josh Hen­der­son, and [Gar­rett’s] girl­friend, Joanna Holtz.

“If you have a faith, please hold [Hen­der­son and Holtz] in your prayers. I can’t imag­ine what it was like to go through what they went through that evening. They were with Gar­rett when this tragedy took place, they were the ones who called 911 and stayed by his side do­ing their ut­most to com­fort him even though he was pretty much gone in­stantly.”

At the service, Hen­der­son read a class vale­dic­to­rian nom­i­na­tion let­ter he’d writ­ten for Gar­rett last year. Holtz sum­ma­rized Gar­rett’s last day, which in­cluded meet­ing her at her locker, bring­ing her candy to sneak into the movie they’d planned on see­ing to­gether, and him singing the cho­rus of Take

On Me, by A-ha, to which she said “he wasn’t that bad.”

I am so lost at sea, Gar­rett shine your light for me, I’m sink­ing and I can’t swim, I need you here to pull me in. I am so lost at sea, Gar­rett shine your light for me, I’m sink­ing and I can’t swim, I need you brother, you will never dim. there and change this world for the bet­ter.”

“If you want to hon­our Gar­rett’s mem­ory and in some way give pur­pose to this hor­ri­ble tragedy, then we would en­cour­age you to take the course that Gar­rett’s pass­ing on to you and be­ing a light in this world the same way that he was,” David said. “If you can do that, and I know that you can, Gar­rett might have an even big­ger im­pact on this

STEPH CROSIER/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Gar­rett Mills’ fa­ther, David Mills, his best friend, Josh Hen­der­son, his girl­friend, Joanna Holtz, and his older bother, Lan­don Mills, say one last goodbye to their son, friend and brother fol­low­ing Gar­rett’s Service of Cel­e­bra­tion at the Evan­gel Tem­ple in Na­pa­nee on Fri­day.

SUPPLIED PHOTO

Gar­rett Mills, 15, is seen ear­lier on the day he died in a tragic ac­ci­dent in Na­pa­nee.

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