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PEP Air North West Zone director honoured by Province

Lynn Van Cadsand is the first Emergency Management BC volunteer to receive the recognition twice
Lynn Van Cadsand, Northwest zone commander for the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), stands next to the Search and Rescue Memorial in front of the legislature building in Victoria during a trip to Victoria in February of this year. (Contributed Photo)

A Smithers woman is being honoured by the Province for her work as a public safety volunteer.

Lynn Van Cadsand is one of 6 people being recognized this year from the thousands of Public Safety Lifeline volunteers who conduct air and ground search and rescue, help extricate victims trapped by serious motor vehicle accidents, set up communication networks and co-ordinate services for victims of natural disasters.

Van Cadsand has been with PEP Air for more than 30 years.

She also got the award in 1999 and is the first Emergency Management BC volunteer to receive the recognition twice.

PEP Air Provincial Director Alton King said she is extremely valuable to the organization.

“She is absolutely wonderful,” he said. “She started off as a spotter, navigator, never was a pilot then she was an air deputy then moved up to search coordinator then the search master which requires taking a military course in Nova Scotia before moving to zone commander. Today she is the search coordinator, assistant search master and zone commander for the northwest zone.”

He added that as the provincial director, he would be lost without her in that zone.

“She has worked under extreme measure where there is no aircraft available and she has overcome that.”

Van Cadsand said she was honoured and surprised to be receiving the recognition.

“It feels awesome but I feel there are more people who are more deserving than I am,” she said. “I was very shocked when I got the phone call and I was told I had won. I had no idea. But I am very, very honoured.”

Van Cadsand got involved with the organization in 1985.

“My dad was involved and there a military aircraft coming to Smithers to do some training and I was not working that day so my dad asked me if I wanted to come and join,” she said.

She stuck with it because of her interest in flying and helping people out.

“I’ve always had a passion to fly. I love flying. It puts a smile on my face. I don’t have a pilots license so I fly with other people,” she said. “Over the years I used to fly gliders and I used to sky dive but I never went for my pilots licence because I couldn’t afford it. It is very expensive. I was also always interested in first aid.”

The most rewarding part of her job is finding someone alive who has survived a crash or finding someone who has been missing in the wilderness.

“We work with Ground Search and Rescue a lot, they’ll request us to look from the air for a truck or last known position for whoever is missing. It is a good partnership.”

Normally, this recognition is conducted as part of National Volunteer Week in April. Due to COVID-19, this year’s celebration will be virtual.

Van Cadsand will miss out on the networking.

“You don’t get to see your peers and be with people who are in ground search and rescue, who are in white water rescue, who are in road rescue. We all do this for the same reason, to help those in need. When you go to a ceremony, you get to meet your peers and make new contacts and friendships.”

King also added that he can’t say enough good things about her.

“There isn’t anyone that meets Lynn that doesn’t like her. She has an incredible smile, laughter and personality.”

Lynn Van Cadsand, second from right, with CASARA Northwest zone team members (from left) Joern Alles, Greg Miller, Patty Scott and Peter Grundmann during a visit to Haida Gwaii in February of this year. (Contributed photo)
Lynn Van Cadsand, second from right, with CASARA Northwest zone team members (from left) Patty Scott, Peter Grundmann and Greg Miller during a visit to Haida Gwaii in February of this year. (Contributed photo)

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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