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Sunday, 16 June 2013

More Reasons for Doing this Trip

Before Pete and I left for our trip up to Mount Carleton we both received some bad news in the previous few weeks.

From Pete

You know things happen in your life that change who you are. When you get married when you watch your children being born and when you lose a friend. I recently lost an old friend whom I had known for 35 of my 45 years on this earth. His name was Henry Flood and was a guy who not only was a great human being but also a mentor.

I remember as a lanky 12 year old being asked by Henry if I wanted to row. He was a successful athlete in both cross country running and rowing, and he wanted me to join the training team for the 1985 Canada Summer Games. I was floored that this guy who we held in very high esteem as an athlete thought I could cut it as a rower. I, without hesitation, said yes. This was a turning point in my life, because through my involvement in rowing I learned the value of hard work, suffering through brutal training regimes, how to win and more importantly how to lose.

Through all my rowing years Henry was like the rabbit the grey hounds try to catch. He always put in more miles, trained harder and never gave us the chance to complain because whatever we did, he doubled it. And in spite of this super competitive drive he was a great guy, quick to smile and laugh. The first guy to ask about your family. He really gave a shit.

I was incredibly saddened, shocked and confused when his brother Chris call me one Sunday morning a few weeks ago and simple said, “Pete I have some really sad new”.” Henry is dead”.
“Henry died last night”.

I still find it hard to believe he is not around. I still expect to see him sauntering up to me at a local coffee shop with his cap on crooked and commenting on a recent sporting event and asking about my kids and wife.

If anything good comes from something that is very bad it is that it brought the old rowing gang together to remember a fantastic guy and what he taught us. It reminded us how lucky we are to have great wives and beautiful children, to have our health and our drive and determination that was partly the result of having known Henry.

I was moping about a few days after I received the news and my wife, Tina said. “You know, now you really have to do this trip”. With this statement I became aware she really  understood what Henry’s passing meant to me.

Last week, I received news that a one of our former helicopter pilots, Jacques Dupuy was killed in an air ambulance crash in Ontario. Jacques flew with us during the summer seasons, and a year ago had left to go to Ontario to fly medivac helicopters for a company called Ornge. Jacques always talked about moving on to big all weather capable helicopters.

It's funny how in life you meet people along the way that you make an instant connection with, someone who would make a good friend. However due to other circumstances it doesn't happen. Jacques was like that. He lived in Quebec, worked the summer seasons for us, and flew mostly out of one of our northern bases, so I never saw him a whole lot. The times we did bump into each other, he always had a smile on his face and we would spend time catching up on each others lives.

Aviation can be a risky business, and I have known a couple of fellow pilots who have lost their lives in unfortunate accidents. Jacques death however affected me more than I thought it would. Maybe it is my age now, maybe knowing him better than the others was it. Hell, maybe it was thinking of my own demise and picturing my wife and kids alone.

Jacques was only 43, married and had two small children. A fundraising has been started to help out the families of the whole crew of Ornge flight 7793. Check out http://teespring.com/7793
Order up a t-shirt or hoodie to help out.

Like I said before, life is short, so get out there and live your dreams while you can.

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