Friday's tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan touched more than just the immediate families. The billet families are affected as well.
Being a billet parent is exactly like being a parent. You deal with the ups and downs just like any parent would. No-one tells this story better than Athena Winchester, who has been a billet for the Drumheller Dragons for the past three years.
"We let these young men into our lives and we take them in as ours. You know, you feed them and nurture them and help them along with their perceived failures even. From making supper to putting dishes in the dishwasher, we are doing it together and coming out to watch them on the ice is always exciting," beamed Winchester.
"I answer questions and help him 'adult,' is what I call it, by learning how to cook and making eggs. They are part of our hearts, the whole team is. It's not just one boy who is coming into our house, it is several who come by and have breakfast together. You grow to love these boys." said Winchester.
Winchester and her husband still keep in contact with their past billets.
"They're my children, my husband and I don't have kids. They are the kids that we are never going to have and so they fill a void in our hearts. Looking at this as a billet parent, I can't even fathom what they are going through. It's heartbreaking. They are not their children and maybe they feel that it is wrong to feel that way, because it wasn't their kid, but it is their kid," expressed Winchester.
The Town of Drumheller dropped the flags at Town Hall to half staff on Monday in support of Humboldt.
Below is a video of the service in Humboldt from Sunday night.