News / Vancouver

B.C. parents who lost only child in Las Vegas attack invoke 'legacy of love'

RCMP Sergeant Mitch Fox looked out for 23-year-old Jordan McIldoon’s nana, a “wee Scottish woman,” while McIldoon’s parents flew to Nevada to bring their son’s body home.

Photos of 23-year-old Jordan McIldoon, shared by his mom Angela, show the young man she'll remember: one who loved the outdoors, whipped around on his bike, and lived for time at the family cabin in Missezula Lake.

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Contributed/ Angela McIldoon

Photos of 23-year-old Jordan McIldoon, shared by his mom Angela, show the young man she'll remember: one who loved the outdoors, whipped around on his bike, and lived for time at the family cabin in Missezula Lake.

Jordan McIldoon always wanted to protect his nana.

The adoration between the 23-year-old — killed in Sunday’s mass shooting in Nevada — and his grandmother in Vancouver was always palpable to his parents, who shared the detail among memories of their son on Wednesday.

But when McIldoon’s parents left to bring their son’s body home from Nevada, the beloved grandparent described by the family as a “wee Scottish woman” had to stay behind. That’s where RCMP Sgt. Mitch Fox stepped up.

“I was going to hire security because the media was coming to our house, and her house is in the back property,” Jordan’s mother, Angela McIldoon, told the Star. But a friend in the RCMP put her in touch with Fox first.

Fox drove out right away to meet Jordan’s nana. While Angela and Alan have been in the U.S., Fox set up regular patrols past the house and made sure she had his direct line, “for anything she needs.”

As the McIldoons process the loss of their only child, they’ve been met with waves of compassion from Vancouver to Las Vegas. To them, that’s Jordan’s legacy: leaving behind a story of love instead of violence or hatred.

The 23-year-old grew up in Maple Ridge, B.C. on his family’s acreage. Before he died on Sunday, he’d been living there with his parents, his grandmother and his girlfriend Amber — who he adored, the family said.

At any chance he was given, he’d zip off to their cabin in Missezula Lake.

His parents will remember him there: where he flipped upside down on his bike, roared through the park, and drove around in a diesel truck with his cowboy boots on. They’ll remember a two-year-old who climbed up on the roof of a barn, and leapt into lakes before he knew how to swim.

Sharing photographs of Jordan with the Star, Angela had special affection for ones that showed him, grinning, in crisp white snow around the cabin.

Before McIldoon died, he’d been living with his parents, his grandmother and his girlfriend Amber — who he adored, the family said.

Contributed/ Angela McIldoon

Before McIldoon died, he’d been living with his parents, his grandmother and his girlfriend Amber — who he adored, the family said.

The couple says they have no words to describe the pain of losing their son. But as they begin to put together the pieces of Sunday’s tragedy across the U.S. border, both friends and strangers have woven a safety net of comforts.

A first class flight on Air Canada; a limo to take them to the police station. A beautiful suite, tucked away in the corner of the MGM hotel, where nobody could hear if the couple wept at their son’s loss. There would be no bill.

At the family reunification centre in Vegas, bustling with supports from chaplains to assistance dogs, it would be easy to miss Paul Poteat. He’s been sleeping in his truck, Angela said, to make sure affected families have rides anywhere without cost.

“He is kind and compassionate and has been an enormous help to us,” Angela wrote in an email. Each day, the couple met with a victim advocate from the Las Vegas Metro police. Her name was Peggy Wellman. She reminded them to eat, and offered wise advice during the first few days.

And then there was the man in the blue vest.

Paul Cunningham, from the Canadian consulate, landed in Las Vegas with a critical task. He and his team would be getting Jordan’s body home. Angela called the consular team’s arrival a sight for sore eyes.

But any list of people the family has leaned on would be incomplete. “There are countless others whose paths we have crossed,” she wrote.

“Our boy will leave a legacy of love and not hatred.”

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