Remembering Tanner

Tanner's friends and family, including mom, Jenny in the blue shirt, have a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies of the Tanner Redick Memorial Two Pitch Tournament in Alvinston Friday night.

Alvinston tournament a memorial to firefighter who died in 2019

Tanner Redick would have been in the middle of the action.

That’s what Jenny Redick says as she waited for her game at the two-pitch tournament she and a committee organized in her son’s name in Alvinston Friday night.

Tanner Redick, a firefighter in Alvinston and at Six Nations, died Dec. 13, 2019 when his truck collided with a combine on Petrolia Line. He was just 21.

It was a blow not just to his family – Jenny, his sister Sydney and dad, Shawn – but to the Brooke Fire Rescue family. They responded that day and it left a deep impact losing one of their own.

Redick started at the Alvinston station when he was just 16. He worked his way up the ranks and became a full fledged volunteer firefighter.

It was his passion, friends and family say. He went to school and earned his credentials and landed his first job as a full time firefighter at Six Nations. “He worked hard to get a post in a very competitive career,” says Dan Cumming – one of the members of the organizing committee. “They don’t usually give full time firefighter jobs to kids in their 20s.”

But his career was cut short when the accident took his life less than a month after he started working.

Jenny started organizing the tournament in February 2020, just a couple of months after Tanner’s death at the suggestion of his friends. They are frequent visitors at Redick’s home.

Redick agreed. They opened registration for the tournament and within 30 minutes there was a full slate of 30 teams ready to play – 20 in the men’s division, 10 in the women’s.

But the plans had to be delayed when the world was stopped by COVID-19.

Redick says it probably wasn’t a bad thing. It gave them more time to figure out just what could be done to raise money for two of Tanner’s favourite causes – the Alvinston Firefighters Association and a group called I’ve Got Your Back 9-11 – which promotes mental health for first responders.

Jenny says her son was passionate about making sure people were both strong physically and mentally to do the work of a firefighter.

And the organization helped after Tanner’s death, holding a session for the first responders in Alvinston.

“It’s important for first responders to have a means to release what they have seen…they see some bad stuff sometimes, and it’s okay to talk about it.”

As her team warmed up on the diamond at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre, Jenny Redick couldn’t help but smile with excitement.

And both she, and Tanner’s dad, Shawn knew if he was around, Tanner would be having a great time. “He would have been here. He would have been involved,” says Jenny. “He would have wanted to be MVP.”

“He would have been right in the middle of it,” added Shawn. “Tanner was a very sociable kid. He loved getting out with his buddies.”

“It’s a very positive day having this many friends together,” he added.

The tournament continues until Sunday.