Duncan woman killed by fallen tree during windstorm was checking in on homeless, Chief says

Duncan woman killed by fallen tree during windstorm was checking in on homeless, Chief says

WATCH:  She was a good samaritan, helping homeless people get through the worst windstorm in years. But the wind toppled a tree, and ultimately killed her. We’re learning more about Melissa Joe, the only person to die because of the storm.

*Out of respect for cultural protocol, we will not use any pictures of her until she’s memorialized. Luisa Alvarez reports.

When the storm hit Vancouver Island, strong winds brought destruction everywhere. Especially Duncan, which was one of the hardest hit areas, where along with crushed homes and fallen trees the storm, claimed a life.

“I feel for the family’s loss I know they are taking it pretty hard,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief, William Seymour.

Five people were huddled inside a tent in a homeless encampment when a tree fell. It sent two people to the hospital and killed 28-year-old Melissa Joe, a member of the Cowichan Tribes.

“She had a big heart,” said Seymour.

It’s part of the mourning process in their culture that the family doesn’t speak publicly. But, Chief Seymour has permission from Joe’s father who wants people to know who she was.

“When she wasn’t looking out for her family or wasn’t going to further her education she looked at ways to help out people that needed help,” said Chief Seymour.

While, Joe did frequent the homeless camp where she died she wasn’t a resident.

She lived with her father and seven-year-old daughter but would often go to the camp to check up on friends and family who did live there.

“She was always concerned about how they were doing and that everything was okay health wise and that they were getting something to eat,” said Seymour.

And that’s what Chief Seymour says she was doing the day she died.

“She was there because of that winds making sure everyone was okay.”

Melissa Joe will be remembered as an avid volunteer in her community with a giving heart.

“It’s going to be a big loss for the community that we lose someone that was so open like that,” said Seymour.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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