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

‘Deeply sorry’: Former West Kelowna teacher offers emotional apology to student he sexually exploited

Judge will make decision on Bradley Furman’s sentencing in the coming weeks

Not-for-profit Kelowna dental clinic to celebrate 15 year anniversary with event on Friday

Dental staff at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission will host event at 2509B Leon Avenue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..

Kelowna photo contest gets people thinking about respect

Snowboard and ski packages, wine tastings, gift cards all up for grabs in Respect Lives Here contest

South Okanagan rescue hopes to find injured hawk’s owner

The South Okanagan Rehab Centre for Owls found the rare Harris hawk on Thursday

Big White warns skiers to avoid tree wells after two fatalities at other resorts

Tree wells form when low branches at the base of coniferous trees stop snow from settling at the trunk

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

‘Deeply sorry’: Former West Kelowna teacher offers emotional apology to student he sexually exploited

Judge will make decision on Bradley Furman’s sentencing in the coming weeks

Most Read