An aerial photograph of the 2020 Cobequid Educational Centre's graduation celebration held at RiverBreeze Farm in Upper Onslow. Photo courtesy of Steve Currie, Currie CineMedia

In times of need, people are always there.

For the people of Colchester County, that’s been the case over the last few months. We’re still in the midst of pandemic. We’ve been rocked by the nation’s largest mass shooting. People have lost a kind-hearted man while he served our country. And there’s a family still without their three-year-old boy in their arms.

It’s been a tough few months. That’s not hard to argue with.

So when we have people like Jim and Tricia Lorraine step up to try and give close to 400 graduating students a night to remember, they should be commended.

For those who may not know, the Lorraines were approved to host a graduation celebration on their Upper Onslow farm known as RiverBreeze. Their daughter, Eryn, was among the graduating class from Cobequid Educational Centre. She and her fellow students have been through so much heartache lately, that the Lorraines really wanted to make it a special celebration.

And that they did.

With the help of a number of people, including Jeannine Doiron Garrett, whose daughter, Amielia, lost her father and stepmother in the shootings in April, students were given a night they won’t soon forget.

The biggest thing missing, however, was their classmate, Emily Tuck, also lost in the shooting.

Horns blared when the celebration turned to a tribute to the late 17-year-old. Vehicle horns because physical distancing still had to be enforced between students and their families. Those at the celebration were treated to another viewing of Emily’s fiddle performance shown on the Stronger Together tribute to the shooting victims, a performance that saw famed fiddler Natalie MacMaster join in on the song.

And they also heard of some shenanigans Emily and her cousin, Sarah, got up to in their younger years.

It was a tragic event that took the graduating student, but the tribute was a beautiful one.

And it would not have happened for Emily’s classmates without the Lorraines or the community.

Jim and Tricia didn’t have to make the celebration proposal. They didn’t have to offer their time, efforts or property.

But they did, because that’s what community-minded people do.

Throughout the years, Jim and Tricia have supported their community. Each year, their cornmaze sports a strong message, including anti-bullying messages.

It wasn’t a surprise to see Jim and Tricia post a video message on social media about their graduation proposal. Nor was it a surprise to see the entire community – from individuals to businesses – step up and lend a hand. People volunteered their time. People donated money. And people celebrated the graduates.

In such a time of uncertainty, hundreds of students had a little bit of normalcy. They needed that celebration.

And Jim and Tricia Lorraine, and all those involved, knocked it out of the park.