East Lambton letters touch Humbolt hearts


    Charlie Verhoeven has been thinking a lot about the Humbolt Broncos.
    The 13 year-old Watford hockey player – like many others – was stunned nine months ago when 16 players and coaches died in a horrific crash in Saskatchewan.
    Verhoeven talked about it with his mom, Heather Letkeman, and his class at school. He’s even decided to write his speech about it this year. But then came Christmas, and Charlie was thinking about the Broncos again.
    “He basically said ‘what can we do for them at Christmas? Maybe I can write them a letter,’” says his mom, Heather.
    Soon, Charlie’s younger sister, Sammie, who is on the East Lambton Eagle’s Tyke team, was helping out.
    That prompted Letkeman to go further. “I said ‘What if we got your hockey team and Sammie’s hockey team…and then the older kids can help the little kids and we can make cards together.’”
    The idea was a hit, so before Christmas the two teams came to Letkeman’s home for card making.

    They put addresses to the names and sent them off. Then, around Christmas, Letkeman, saw a post on social media from Evan Thomas’ mom, Laurie.
    “Past nine months have been difficult for so many impacted by the tragedy of the Humbolt Broncos bus accident. To help my journey of healing I need to always say thanks. We opened many Xmas cards. This one brought a flood of tears,” she wrote on Twitter.
    Below the words were the letters from the East Lambton Eagles with the hashtags #humboltstrong, #hockeyisfamily and #17Thomas.
    “The hashtag hockey is family…that really touched all of us,” says Letkeman adding both Charlie and Sammie became quiet when they saw the reaction of the Humbolt mom.
    “We really helped this woman.”


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