Danielle Huizinga still cannot believe it is true.
The high school student came home to her semi-formal dance Thursday night to hear a woman she admired so much she wanted to be like her had died in a horrific crash in whiteout conditions on Highway 402.
Huizinga had been part of Kimberly Anderson McGuire’s youth group at Wyoming Baptist Church. Just days before McGuire was killed on the highway heading to Sarnia, she was part of a group that headed up the 402 to Toronto for a youth conference with her husband, Ian, Huizinga and other members of the youth group. “It was all about keeping your friends close and being together with Christ having a good time,” says the young woman recalling there were lots of laughs and pillow fights.
Then, just days later, she learned McGuire died. “I couldn’t believe it; it wasn’t true,” says Huizinga. “I didn’t believe it and sometimes I still can’t believe it.”
McGuire and Huizinga had not known each other a long time, but Huizinga says the 22-year-old youth leader was “beautiful; her heart was always reaching out to someone in need, she was always there for someone in need.”
Petrolia Councilor Tim Brown agrees. “We’ve lost an incredible girl,” says Brown who helped lead the TNT group at LCCVI where McGuire volunteered.
“Kim always had time for anyone,” says Brown “she always cared.”
Brown says McGuire and her husband, Ian, always welcomed people into their homes. “Her whole life was to give back.”
Her commitment to others in the community was even evident when she was a young girl, writing in an essay in Grade 6 – which Brown read from at Petrolia Council Monday – which talks about what community means to her.
“Being part of a community means knowing you’re safe,” wrote the then 11-year-old. “It means you know there is a place for you to go when your parents are gone, when you’re hurt or lost. It means being able to have pride in where you live.”
Huizinga says that love of community; openness to help others and her love of Christ is what made McGuire a wonderful person to be around and a role model.
“This past year I noticed how she lived her life and I wanted to live like this… Her love of God showed through her actions; I really wanted to be like that.”