His canoe has been located, but Al Smith is still missing. A celebration of life is being held Saturday for the canoer who was last seen June 10th.
Al’s brother David Smith is inviting people to come to Riverstone Golf Course Saturday at 3 p.m. on the banks of the Smoky River.
“That’s the last place where Al was seen alive and that’s where the two women who were with Al managed to get off the logs and onto the shore. And that’s where a majority of the search was conducted from,” said David.
“I know some people will want to say a few words and some people will want to sing a few songs. Al loved to play guitar and sing. It should be a lot of fun; lots of good memories and laughs, and I’m sure we will shed a few tears.”
Al’s canoe was found by the Watino Bridge, buried in the mud, with only about six inches of the bow sticking out. David says it’s slightly damaged and they hope to clean it up and have it at the celebration.
While the official search has finished, friends and family are hopeful Saturday’s get-together will bring them some closure.
“And if the river releases his body and we find him at some point, then we will deal with that, but for now we will just move on. The Smoky is a big river and it runs into the Peace River, which is even bigger, so we are just dealing with the fact that we haven’t found him and we’ll just get on with our lives as best we can.”
“The two women who survived the trip consider Al their hero,” David added. “He sacrificed his chance to survive so that they could get off the logs and onto shore. They’ve made it very clear that (Al) turned terrible circumstances into an opportunity for them to live. And that’s the kind of guy he was, he put other people first.”
Following a short program at 3 p.m. there will be a beef on a bun lunch with salads and desserts. People are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. David says some have plans to camp overnight as well.