Grouard man dies from COVID-19

Shawn Auger proudly poses with his two girls, Neriah, left, and Shealynn, right, after winning the Alberta Atom Female Native Provincial title in 2016. Auger had a great love for hockey which he shared with his family.

Chris Clegg

South Peace News

Grouard and the High Prairie region is mourning the loss of Shawn Auger from complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Auger died March 30, a family member announced on Facebook.

“It is with much sadness that I am writing this note to you all this morning,” wrote Lori Auger. “Kandace Lee [Shawn’s sister] asked me to inform you all that her brother Shawn has passed into glory this morning.”

Well-wishes and prayers immediately began pouring out to the grieving family.

Big Lakes County and the Town of High Prairie both offered condolences.

“Big Lakes County is deeply saddened by the news of our first COVID-19 death,” the county’s statement said.

“Council and staff would like to offer their deepest condolences to Shawn Auger’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as everyone in the community of Grouard.

“We are a close-knit community, and this news will be hard for everyone.”

High Prairie town council also issued a statement.

“Council would like to extend our deepest condolences and prayers for the family. We would also like to remind everyone to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and not spread the virus. Stay safe.”

Auger, who is being remembered as a loving husband and father, becomes northern Alberta’s first victim of COVID-19. He was one of five Albertans to succumb to the disease March 30 and the youngest to date.

The five deaths were later announced by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, who called it “one of the hardest days yet”. The number of confirmed cases in Alberta reached 690.

“Each death is a tragedy, and this many in one day is heartbreaking,” Hinshaw said during a news conference in Edmonton.

Auger was a government youth worker at the Youth Assessment Centre in High Prairie. He was also heavily involved in the community as a youth hockey coach and was the current vice president of High Prairie Minor Hockey.

The Valleyview Jets hockey club issued a statement and asked people to place hockey sticks on their porches as a sign of solidarity with Auger’s friends and family. 

“Recently we lost a young man from High Prairie to COVID-19, he was fighting since first being tested positive on March 13. Today he lost his battle,” reads the Jets’ statement.

“Let’s put our sticks out in honour of Shawn and his hard, short battle. He left behind a wife and three teenage hockey players. RIP Shawn.”

Lori Auger asked everyone for continued prayers.

“Please continue to pray for his wife, Jennifer, his three teenage children, his mother Shirley and her family and all his friends.”

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