On behalf of Scott, Jordyn, Julianna, and myself, I would like to extend our most heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for each and every one of you being here tonight.
That I stand here before you still seems so surreal. Today marks almost 17 months that our son Ryan Shtuka has been missing. A tragic and pained journey, that has been filled with indescribable grief and yet unexpected blessings. A terrible paradox.
Over a year ago, Russ Walton, Jared Featherstone and Allan McVicar of Past 11 Productions, approached Scott and I. They had an idea to document Ryan’s story and in doing so, continuing to keep our journey in the forefront of public awareness.
Watching the finished product, I want express how proud we are with what they have accomplished. It is clear to me, what started out as a project about a missing child quickly became a labour of love. Their ability to create a story with such compassion and care will be an everlasting legacy not only for them but also for Ryan.
You should be proud as well. These men have been born and raised in the Kamloops area. There is this collective influence that has helped shaped the way they view the world. That has come from their families, their neighbours, their community…. it has come from you.
I believe, this documentary is just the beginning of what I predict will be a long and impactful career in relevant storytelling.
I also want to thank Wendy Lefebvre. Her dedication and support made this production possible.
It should alarm you to know that: In 2018, there was 42,233 children reported missing nationally. Many of them will be found and returned home. However, there are those children that still we search for.
Whether a child go missing, willing, unwilling or unknowingly, we as loved ones, are left to navigate through an unfathomable nightmare. From the moment the notification comes that our child is missing, we fear everything. Every terror, every imaginable horror we ever had is realized. Fear of the unknown, fear about where our child is, where they aren’t, fear about possibilities and impossibilities .. the fear is uncompromising and crippling.
One of our fears, not easily expressed, is that our child will be forgotten. Only to be remembered and cherished by those that loved them, until we too pass from memory.
This documentary is the story of one child. But he is not the only lost soul.
I stand here, on behalf of the parents of Ben Tyner, Dean Morrison, Madison Scott, Ashley Simpson, Jordan Holling, Nadia Atwi, Tommy Harrington, and Kris Couture a few of the many that find themselves in the same dark place.
I stand here and implore you not to forget our children.
For they are so dearly loved and so incredibly missed. Our children deserve the right to come home
for they all matter.