Boys’ quest to remember their dad with a padlock on Centennial T - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Boys’ quest to remember their dad with a padlock on Centennial Trail

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Thousands take to the Centennial Trail every year in a quest to get healthy, enjoy the outdoors or find beauty in their own backyard. There are a few yards along the 37 mile stretch that holds even more beauty than meets the eye. People walk a little slower across the bridge below the bluff near Arborcrest Winery on the Centennial Trail. The shine and glimmer of padlocks and the rust and old carvings on others catch the attention of people passing by.

Most will never know the stories behind each lock and the significance of the place, but for the Gunderson family the bridge is a special place. Tim and Chase Gunderson grew up along the Spokane River in Spokane Valley. They learned to fish, hike, swim and kayak along the river. It was a family spot and the only person who may have loved the river more was their dad, Keith.

When Keith was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he still visited the river. His boys say when he was too weak to walk, he rode a scooter that he would force down the trails to the water’s edge. And, when he became too sick to leave the house, Keith’s sons bought him a small electric fountain so that their dad could still hear the rush of running water.

Keith lost his battle to cancer in July of 2017, but his childhood friend made sure she would remember him by hanging a padlock on the bridge. Kristy Canright met Keith in the 4th grade and says they would kayak, swim and jump off rocks into the Spokane River near the bridge. When he passed, she knew the bridge would be the best place to remember her friend. She hung a padlock on the far edge so that she can see it when she returns to their swimming hole this summer.

Kristy also reached out to Tim and Chase and encouraged the boys to hang their own lock to remember their dad. Their lock hangs in the middle of the bridge with the words “I love you” and “Rest in Peace”. They say they’re happy to know they can remember their dad in a place where he spent the happiest days of his life.

The two locks are just a few of dozens of others on the bridge, each with its own story like Kristy’s and the Gunderson boys’.

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