Prince Rupert Marine Rescue Society (RCM-SAR Station 64) volunteer Gerard Ans. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Heart of Our City – Retired aircraft mechanic turned water rescuer

Gerard Ans is taking ‘me’ time to help others in Prince Rupert

There was no compelling reason, no intriguing back story that prompted Gerard Ans to accept an invitation to join the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 64 (RCM-SAR Station 64) two years ago. He is simply a selfless man.

When Ans gets called out, he immediately stops what he is doing, adorns a search and rescue vest and boards the boat that will transport him and a crew into uncertainty. His adrenaline spikes as he hopes for a good outcome, that he can make a positive difference in someone’s life.

“I don’t feel anxiety when there’s a call out. I feel excited because I know I’m going to help someone,” Ans said. “I have always been a giver. Whether it’s buying food for people who have very little, or stopping on the road to help with a flat tire.”

READ MORE: It’s possible to mourn a boat

Ans’ fondest memories centre around water and it seemed a logical way to give back to a community that he has called home for three years.

He was born in Orillia, Ontario, one of Canada’s premiere outdoor recreation areas. His father was a military man, so Ans called many provinces home.

“My best memories are in Winnipeg with my father,” Ans said. “We would camp, canoe and portage for weeks on Lake of the Woods. The lake has narrows and tidal flow, so it is very similar to the ocean.”

When Ans lived in Richmond he took coastal navigation. He had a 16-foot runabout and spent five years exploring the islands around Steveston harbour.

Ans moved to Prince Rupert because of a boat. Five years ago, he and his daughter camped at Kinnikinnick Campground near Port Edward. They explored the area and went on a whale watching excursion. His daughters are grown and the experience cemented his dream to buy a boat and live life near the ocean.

MORE: Captain dies after boat sinks

It was Ans’ me-time. On a website he found a moss-laden boat that had been neglected for years and the next thing he knew, he was calling the North Coast home.

Ans is a retired aircraft maintenance and structure mechanic. This is the first time Ans has been involved with RCM-SAR but he was involved in rescues before moving to Prince Rupert.

Ans assisted on medivacs and rescues when he was a helicopter mechanic on a Sikorsky S-76 air ambulance.

“I have encountered people with severe injuries, even fatalities, but I still feel great after a rescue. It makes me feel valued and needed and I’m happy I can help,” Ans said.

Three months ago, Ans was called to assist the Coast Guard in the sinking of the Western Commander off Triple Island, in the northern Hecate Strait. “The captain suffered a heart attack onboard and the ship was taking on water,” Ans said.

“I helped remove the captain from the sinking boat and administered CPR for a very long time. You can’t stop until a doctor or paramedic arrives.”

Ans doesn’t feel he has lasting negative affects or thoughts even though the captain passed away, but he does feel that his physical condition is not as good as it could be. “Long-lasting CPR is very hard work, but there was no way I was stopping,” Ans said.

RCM-SAR Station 64 followed up with Ans after the incident.

“They [RCM-SAR] were so supportive. They offered to pay for a counsellor if I felt I needed one and phoned me quite often,” Ans said.

“Working with search and rescue builds such a sense of community.”

Ans believes volunteering is important to society. To give back to your communty. That it would be a sad world if people only thought of themselves.

“The more we are called, the more it boosts my sense of purpose and that feels so good,” he said.

To Ans, the Western Commander experience reaffirmed the need for such an important volunteer organization.

READ MORE Heart of our City: Meet the people of Prince Rupert



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Donation drop off tonight for B.C. wildfire victims

The Postmen have set up a three-day depot at the Moose Hall in Prince Rupert for disaster relief

Rice on emergency preparedness in wildfire season

Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness talks about B.C.’s state of emergency

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Ice Demons returning to CIHL for 2018-2019 season

Central Interior Hockey League will return with five teams after shrinking last season

Trial set for Prince Rupert RCMP who struck pedestrian in crosswalk

Cpl. Jeff Easingwood is facing charges for driving without due care while on duty

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

The Northern View 2018 Readers Choice

Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Sept. 7

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. woman set for trial in Alberta as animal cruelty investigation continues in home province

Karin Adams was discovered with eight dogs in Alberta weeks after having 16 dogs seized in Quesnel

Most Read