Community grieves loss of Terrance Evans
Service to be held Monday, Feb. 20 at FEC
Feb. 18, 2023 — Feb. 6 was a sad day throughout the Siuslaw School District and much of Florence as the community learned of the death of freshman Terrance Evans.
Siuslaw High staff immediately went into action to support students, with members of the district’s trauma response team meeting with students after the announcement, as well as opening Care Rooms for students needing counseling or support.
With the help of multiple outside agencies, additional grief counseling staff were brought in to provide support to anyone in need. These included counselors from Peace Health on Monday and Lane County Public Health on Tuesday.
Siuslaw Principal Mike Harklerode appreciated the all the extra support.
“This allowed our existing counseling staff to work directly with students most in need of support,” said Harklerode.
Though not planned previously — but especially timely — was the launch of a program at SHS last week called Uplift, a peer-to-peer virtual community that supports students from across the state and region. According to the website, Uplift says students will “learn about yourself, your mission, strengths, and ways to support and build your community.”
At the Florence City Council meeting, which was held on the same evening as the tragedy, Florence Police Chief John Pitcher opened the discussion about the sad events of that morning.
“We had a tragic incident today,” said Pitcher. “We have worked very closely with our school district. [unclear] has been there all day helping out, and she may come back tonight. But we are working closely with the schools.”
Though it appeared Councilor Sally Wantz didn’t know Terrance or the Evans family, she knew those in attendance did know him or were involved in the response that morning.
“Just keep any family in your thoughts and prayers because life is precious,” said Wantz. “When we lose a 15-year-old adult, it's hard. It's really hard. I want to commend you [Pitcher] and your officers and everybody involved. The way you handle these things can't be easy. My thoughts go out to you and support whatever you need. ... I know the staff knows the family.
“Our thoughts are with you too. Small town. Best part of a small town is you know everybody. Worst part is you know everybody. It's hard. So, thank you for your service.”
City Manager Erin Reynolds also thanked the Florence Police Department for its response.
“Sometimes what doesn't get on the front page of the paper are the most life-changing events that are privately handled,” explained Reynolds. “There is that caretaking that's happening from our police officers. So, I just want to extend my gratitude to Police Chief John Pitcher and his team that was responding today. That takes a toll on a person, and I really appreciate the rest of us really coming out and showing a lot of love and it makes me proud to call Florence home and my community.”
Counselor Robert Carp took the opportunity to share his Western Lane Fire Emergency and Ambulance (WLFEA) Service Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) team card.
“It's a mobile crisis response community support team,” explained Carp. “I encourage everybody to be familiar with this, because it'll help you in any crisis situation. The police department does a fantastic job with the fire department and the EMS system. And they have these available. I've had people come up to me and ask me how to get help. This is super resource.”
Reynolds mentioned the MCR responded to the tragedy earlier in the day.
For information on how to secure a WLFEA MCR card of your own go to www.wlfea.org/.
Two days later SSD Board of Directors Chair Bob Sneddon summed up the board’s feelings about Terrance’s passing at its monthly meeting that was on the evening of Feb. 8.
“I just wanted to say that our deepest sorrows and hearts go out to the [Evans] family and all the staff and members of the community that suffered,” Sneddon said.
The tragedy didn’t come up again during the meeting until the end, during the Board Member Acknowledgements/Communications portion of the meeting.
“As a dad, my heart really goes out to the family,” said Director John Barnett.
Later in the week, the Evans family announced that services for Terrance will be held Monday, Feb. 20, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince Street.
That day is a scheduled In-service day for students. The community is invited to attend.
For those wishing to support the Evans family, an account has been established at Oregon Pacific Bank. Donations can be made directly to the account at OPB or at any of the district schools.
For the district’s website for crisis, counseling and support group services, locally and around Lane County, go to https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/588/Siuslaw_School_District/2762284/RESOURCE_LIST_Rev._2.18.22.pdf.