Tearful smiles and big hugs made their way around a crowd of about a hundred friends and family gathered on the afternoon of February 24 for the dedication of memorial benches for David Cantin and son Jack Cantin, both lost to last year’s 1/9 Debris Flow. The event was held at Montecito’s Manning Park Youth Center, more commonly called the Scout House, where the elder Cantin served as Troop 33 scoutmaster and Jack, 17, was an Eagle Scout. Many of the scouts in attendance had just returned that afternoon from a backpacking trip to Bear Trap campground, in the Sespe Wilderness, “a spot I visited with Dave and Jack a few years ago,” Scoutmaster Telford Work told the crowd. “The memories are rich.”
Echoing the bench inscriptions, both father and son were praised for their dedication to helping others. “They were shining examples of what it means to be a community member,” remembered Abe Powell, executive director of the nonprofit Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade. Sunday’s dedication ceremony marked the first of a planned 23 memorial benches — one for each victim of the debris flow — coordinated and financed by the Bucket Brigade and built by David Mosely, a lifelong woodworker born and raised in Romero Canyon. “It’s an honor to try to bring some good feelings to the families of the victims,” Mosely said.
Widow Kim Cantin organized Sunday’s event, attending with daughter Lauren, whose dramatic rescue on the morning of the January 9, 2018, disaster drew national attention. “Thank you for showing up today,” Kim Cantin told the crowd. “You’re helping Lauren and me to heal.”