Jake Langille travelled to the east coast in 2016 with his father to visit distant relatives of whom he did not have very much of a relationship with. He sits on a rock in New Brunswick and plays his guitar. (submitted)

Jake Langille travelled to the east coast in 2016 with his father to visit distant relatives of whom he did not have very much of a relationship with. He sits on a rock in New Brunswick and plays his guitar. (submitted)

A young Kelownian’s fatal overdose inspires community-service award

Jake Langille was fun, smart, passionate and loyal

Jake Langille died on an air mattress at the age of 27 in his mother’s Kelowna apartment on Jan. 22, 2017.

Groggy and lethargic from a night’s rest of sleeping pills, Jake’s mother ambled to her computer chair—as she always does—not wanting to wake her son. After a few years of precarious living, the mother wanted Jake to feel rested and at home in her apartment.

It took much longer than anybody would want to willingly sit in a room, scanning Facebook, waiting for their dead son to awaken.

“I couldn’t hear breathing, no snoring; he couldn’t move,” she said. “Then I looked and he was blue. And that was that. That was the last time I ever saw him.”

READ MORE: The life of Eli’s father: How a youth stab-victim ended up on the street

Jake moved to Kelowna after struggling to find his way in northern Ontario, where the mother and son are native to. His mother moved to Kelowna in 2014 and he visited for four months in 2015 to see if the area could help him move past his struggles.

His mom sent him back to Ontario for rehab and counselling. He wanted to get his life back on track. When he was ready, he came back to Kelowna to get a job, find stable housing and move forward. His mother even made him turn himself into police for a prior drug offence.

“He was doing all the right things,” she said. “He was really a nice kid, he just had his struggles.”

She doesn’t know how he got the money to buy drugs nor does she know where he consumed them and she doesn’t know where he got them from, but Jake’s blood stream was ridden with various types of drugs that caused an overdose, according to what officials told her.

Jake, according to his mother, was an amazing kid. He was a musician, smart, funny, caring and gentle. She emphasized that the only downfall was that he had his struggles, as many do.

READ MORE: B.C. father charged with murder did not mention daughters while in hospital: RCMP corporal

Gretchen Delguidice was a supporter in Wawa, Ont., and helped guide Jake in the months before he moved to Kelowna to rejoin his mother. She was so inspired by his commitment to healing and helping his friends, that when he passed, she wanted to honour him.

“Jake was just the most lovable person,” said Delguidice. “I lost that kid and it was a tough one for me.”

In 2019, presented by Jacquie Langille (Jake’s grandmother) and Delguidice, the Make a Difference Award was priviledged to two Grade 8 students—one boy and one girl—who exemplify kindness and empathy to their peers and their community.

“They make a difference by being just a little different (in a good way),” the document reads.

“It’s pretty cool, I’m honoured and he would’ve loved it, too,” the mother said. “Especially because it’s for the underdogs.”

The award will be made annual and Delguidice is attempting to create two more awards for Grade 12 graduating students.

The Facebook post by Jake’s mother garnered replies that read, “Wow… I love this award!”, “Beautiful—brings tears to my eyes”, “I so love this… what an amazing legacy… and so needed. Beautiful” and “I’m at a loss for words, but this truly touched my spirit.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s opioid crisis: From a mother’s loss to a community’s education

Through Jake’s story, his mother wishes for people to understand the opioid crisis, drug addiction and homelessness, although they often correlate, they don’t always bind a person to one stereotype. Jake did not die on the streets. He died on his mother’s air mattress one dreary, often re-lived morning.

“They are trying to do the best they can,” his mother empathized with others who struggle in secret.

“They are empaths, the free spirits, the grey in a world of black and white,” the document concluded. “These students challenge us to look at life and people differently.”


@davidvenn_
David.venn@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

The District of Lake Country saw its number of overdose calls double in 2020 over the previous year. (Black Press file photo)
Overdose calls doubled in Lake Country in 2020: report

The district’s protective services annual report shows there were 47 overdose calls last year

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Vernon husband and wife Jan (top) and Ken Waldon (with B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin), were among 44 provincial recipients of the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for volunteerism. The awards were presented at a special ceremony earlier in September in Victoria. (Government House Victoria photos)
Fintry heritage site champion loses battle with illness

Ken Waldon was the leading proponent behind the creation of Friends of the Fintry Provincial Park Society

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

RCMP search the vehicle after pouring out what appeared to be alcohol, onto the highway. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Kelowna woman arrested after alleged erratic driving, suspected impairment

RCMP say no injuries reported and investigation is ongoing

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read