VANCOUVER - June marks six months since North Shore Rescue leader Tim Jones suddenly died, leaving behind his devoted Search and Rescue (SAR) team as well as a wife and two children.
Despite the approaching anniversary, Jones’ daughter Taylor says she doesn’t plan to spend the month overcome by grief. Instead, she’ll be concentrating on the first of many fundraisers to be held in her father’s honor.
Jones is recognized province-wide as a hero, having volunteered as North Shore Rescue’s team leader for over 25 years and transforming the tight-knit team into a top-notch force. He organized and participated in over 1,600 rescue missions, saving hundreds of lives in the process. In 2011, Jones was awarded with the Order of B.C. – the highest honor that can be given to any British Columbian.
The 57-year-old suffered a heart attack while hiking down Mount Seymour on Jan. 19 after hosting an event with North Shore Rescue. He passed away with his daughter by his side.
Almost immediately after his death, tributes for Jones began pouring in. Friends, colleagues, and those who had been touched by one of his rescues expressed their gratitude – some thanking the selfless leader for their lives.
In 2007, Chris Morley was snowshoeing up Mount Seymour when he fell from a cliff, plunging 600 feet to the rocks below. Morley’s companion called SAR and Jones was flown in to rescue the badly injured father of three.
After Jones’ arrival, dangerous avalanche conditions left the men stranded on the mountainside for two freezing nights. Jones didn’t leave Morley’s side until they were airlifted to safety on the third morning.
This year’s Rotary Ride for Rescue is dedicated to Jones’ memory, with all proceeds from the event being donated to the North Shore Rescue team in honor of his extraordinary service.
According to Taylor, the tribute couldn’t be more fitting.
“My dad had big dreams for North Shore Rescue and an incredible vision of what a busy Search and Rescue team should have,” she says. “This event keeps his spirit here and helps my family and I to feel that all the stress he faced and sacrifices he made are worth it. It means everything to me.”
The one-day affair is a timed bike ride up Cypress Mountain for both recreational and competitive cyclists. Competitors can choose from a 17-km ride straight up the mountain or a 11.5-km off-road mountain biking course. All donations raised throughout the day will be put towards improving the equipment that is critical to North Shore Rescue operations.
“Our club wanted to recognize Tim’s leadership and contribution to his community and we also wanted to provide a vehicle through which people could donate to Tim’s organization and to his memory” says event coordinator Karen Harrison. “Our motto is service above self and Tim certainly practiced this, so it’s appropriate to name the event after him.”
Taylor says that her father’s outstanding dedication to his role is inexplicable and can’t be described as anything other than a life-long passion.
“He was gifted with a never-ending supply of care and love for other people; the kind of person who would give anyone the shirt off his back and then carry you six hours to safety,” she says. “It was a 24/7 job, which he was more than happy to do.”
Jones’ job as guardian angel went far beyond the mountain base. He was a devoted father and husband – a role he treasured above all others.
“My dad was a fierce protector of my family,” says Taylor. “I always knew he was a very special person and that I was lucky to be loved by him. When he wasn’t focused on rescue operations, he was a goofball, always joking around and laughing. He had the best, most infectious laugh and the kindest smile.”
Jones’ laid-back off-duty attitude is something Ride for Rescue organizers are hoping to emulate. Harrison says a family-friendly pancake breakfast will be served and activities will be offered for spectators inside Seymour Mountain Lodge throughout the morning. Cyclists of all skill-levels are being encouraged to take advantage of the positive atmosphere while giving back to a cause that might one day save their lives.
“It really is a touching tribute” Taylor says. “My dad always taught me that at the end of the day, a person’s worth is measured by what they can do for others in their lifetime. He appreciated the simple things in life, loved deeply and lived for others.”
The ride is scheduled for Saturday, June 7 between 8:30 and 11:30 am. Those looking to register or make a donation can contact Karen Harrison at 604-922-7200.
© Shaw Media, 2014