Kelowna residents warmed by free hugs event

Kelowna residents warmed by free hugs event

Community embraces Kelowna resident’s legacy

Warm hugs made braving frigid weather a lot more bearable for Kelowna residents who were downtown Tuesday afternoon.

The eighth annual free hug event was an homage to Kelowna resident Wayne Cobb, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010 while saving his son.

One of the huggers braving the cold Tuesday remembers Cobb well, and said it’s a fitting tribute.

“Wayne was an amazing person who loved to hug,” Monique Saebels said. “He had such a big heart and he gave it to everyone. He’s here today… I know he is.”

Saebels is one of the few people who goes to the event and knew Cobb personally. Others, who did not know him, are dedicated to the event and maintaining his legacy.

RELATED: Boxing Day hugs to be handed out at Kelowna sails

Among them is Kathi Meyn, who knows Cobb’s wife and children. For her the event’s appeal lies in the fact it’s something she does with friends year after year, and that it makes a difference.

“It’s the camaraderie, the fun that we’re going to do this. It takes a little bit of bravery to go up and ask a person ‘do you want a hug?’” she said, adding that not everyone wants to partake and that’s OK, too.

Over the years she’s handed out countless hugs, and despite the fact there were few people out in the cold on Boxing Day she’d still doled out quite a few. Some, however, make more of an impression than others.

“The one that stands out to me was the widower who said he hadn’t been hugged in nine years,” said Meyn.

That, she said, had an affect on everyone who was there.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Caroline McKay
COLUMN: Bring books out of hibernation for the new year

Plenty of lesser-known works from famous authors available from the library

The trailer’s occupant fled the scene of the fire because he was afraid, officials were told. 
(Andrea DeMeer- Spotlight)
Princeton trailer fire deemed not suspicious

Man fled the scene because he was afraid, officials were told

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read