My heart was in my throat when a friend of mine called me Sunday afternoon to tell me of the tragic news of the two women killed during a Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) training exercise involving the volunteer auxiliary from Halfmoon Bay.
Just one week prior to this horrible accident, I wrote an editorial talking about the RCM-SAR name change and the vital and important work these talented men and women volunteers provide to us on our waters. Where would we be without them? I have been reflecting on that this week as we continued to follow this story.
I have had the privilege of getting to know many of the volunteers from RCM-SAR Halfmoon Bay on a personal level over the years.
Bob McKee and Drew McKee took me and other members of the media out on their rescue boat several years ago to give us a firsthand look at what these volunteers do.
Other auxiliary members are Barry Poole, whom I came to know through his time on Sechelt council, and Mark Coombs from Grammaís Pub. Iíve often chatted with Mark at the pub about the auxiliary and his love and passion for the water and the vital work they do.
I remembered all of these moments this week.
I did not know Angela Nemeth or Beatrice Sorensen, and Iím sorry I didnít get the chance to meet either of them. By all accounts, they were both truly remarkable human beings who were loved by all their family and friends and will be sorely missed.
They both had a zest for life and a passion for volunteering.
Beatrice was a beloved member of the staff at Sunshine Coast Community Services where she served as their director of finance for the past eight years. Besides her volunteer work with RCM-SAR, which she joined a little over a year ago, she volunteered as a youth soccer coach and in her childrenís schools, most recently with the Chatelech Parent Advisory Council and hot lunch program.
Angie was the office and traffic manager at CKAY-FM. Her colleagues at the radio station were naturally devastated by the news.
My heart goes out to our buddy, news director Sean Eckford, who had the difficult task of telling the story of his fallen friend to radio listeners Monday morning. Other members of the CKAY-FM family, including on-air personality Matt Morris, another buddy of mine, said he would miss Angieís infectious laugh and her ability to instantly turn a bad mood into a good mood with her smile and warm heart.
Other friends described her as a positive, passionate and strong woman, who loved the water and had a calling to help others.
And thatís what these two women were doing ó training to help others. They didnít have to be out in the water last Sunday. They chose to be there because they loved it. They are more than consummate volunteers in my book, they are heroes who ultimately paid the highest price to ensure that others would be safe.
Rest in peace, Angie and Beatrice. Know that your love and community spirit will last in our hearts forever.