Camden Verlaan’s family said the 20-year-old worked for two years in a local café to save money to travel
Vince Verlaan said he shared a philosophy with his son, Camden: “Be careful, not fearful.”
Speaking on CBC’s On The Coast, Vince said Camden worked at The Gumboot Cafe for two years in his hometown of Roberts Creek on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast to save up money to experience the world and travel to Peru for a three-month trip.
Camden, 20, was in Huanchaco, where he volunteered to work at a dog shelter, Vince said, “feeding them, caring for them, and he just loved animals, and dogs especially so much.”
On March 8, Vince said Camden was walking back to the boarding house where he lived after surfing when he stepped on a live electrical wire.
Vince said power lines on tall towers were being replaced by contractors and that none of the workers had indicated a live wire was on the ground, adding it was in an area that’s frequented by families and pets.
“I have been given many videos, many photos before, during and after,” he said, “And it’s just an immense tragedy.”
Vince said the family has retained a lawyer in Trujillo, Peru, and there is an investigation underway.
In a statement to CBC, Global Affairs Canada said it is aware of the death of a Canadian citizen in Peru, “Consular officials are in contact with local authorities and are providing consular assistance to the family. Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed.”
“It’s a horrible loss of incredible potential in an instant,” Vince said.
“You spend years preparing to be a parent, then you get pregnant. Then you have a baby. Then you raise that baby. Then you go through everything, and you hope at 20, he’s free to do what he can and should do, and he was doing it, and then it’s gone.”
“Not only that, but you lose the 50 years that were coming.”
A good friend to many
“He [Camden] affected so many people from his kind nature and his open-heartedness,” which Vince said was confirmed when he went to Peru and met Camden’s friends.
“Dozens of them actually came to me to tell me about him and how much they loved him, how his quiet strength and wit and wisdom and intelligence and insight just blew them away.”
A day after Camden died, Vince said the surfer community came together, built a shrine and held a ritual in the water.
“Two days after I came, we gathered everyone at another hostel where he went on Thursday nights for salsa lessons and mojitos,” Vince said about a memorial that was also held.
The dog shelter Camden volunteered at, Esperanza Canina, posted a tribute for Camden on March 10 on Facebook, writing in part, “RIP dear Camden. This is how we will remember you; a caring, animal-loving, friendly, enthusiastic, social, inspiring, lively young man enjoying every part of his life and who gave our dogs an incredible amount of love!
“You will be hugely missed, and we wish family and friends a lot of strength in these difficult times.”
Camden’s family said something will be planned for him in Roberts Creek and is asking for donations to the dog shelter he was volunteering at in lieu of flowers.