Remembering Capt. Jenn Casey: Friends and colleagues share memories of Halifax woman
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is mourning yet another devastating loss.
Capt. Jennifer Casey, who served as a public affairs officer for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, died in a jet crash in Kamloops B.C., on Sunday.
Originally from Halifax and a former journalist, Casey is being remembered as a professional with a unique ability to connect with people. Leaving behind many friends and colleagues, Maritimers who knew her are reminiscing and sharing memories of the kind, funny, and outgoing woman.
Journalism professor Stephen Kimber taught Casey when she studied at the University of King's College in Halifax. He says Casey knew how to talk to people in a way that made them comfortable.
"She had a laugh that was infectious and filled the room -- she was always smiling," remembers Kimber. "She was also very much her own person, and I think that served her well in all the careers she had."
Casey began her journalism career as a producer, anchor and reporter in Halifax -- quickly becoming a household name on radio airwaves throughout the region. Her co-workers remember her for the enthusiastic personality she exuded.
"She always had lots of ideas, and she pursued them with great zeal," says News 95.7 host, Rick Howe. "She was just a great person to be around, not only because of how she worked and her focus on her job, but she was just a nice person."
Casey's friends say she was a true Maritimer.
"Jennifer was one of those people who had that East Coast mentality down at heart," says friend Tim Durkin.
Many were surprised when the journalist made a career transition by going to work for the Canadian military in 2014.
"She was the public affairs officer at Canadian Forces Base Trenton when she got into the military, then was with the CF18 Demo Team, and from there, in 2018, ended up moving to Moose Jaw and joining the Snowbirds," says Durkin. "What an amazing job and opportunity; you get a chance to go across the country and around the world, and see it from all different angles -- that's a pretty amazing opportunity."
Kimber says her success -- in any career path -- was a given.
"You knew she was going to succeed," says Kimber. "I was surprised when she went into the military. But, at the same time, I always felt this was somebody who wanted to push up against the boundaries and do what she wanted to do, and she always wanted to do something new."
Meanwhile, some say Casey becoming a Snowbird wasn't so far-fetched.
"I think that was her calling," says Howe. "Whenever you see any pictures of her with the Snowbirds, she always has a great big smile on her face. I think that was her calling."
Keeping survivor close to heart
While the country mourns the passing of Casey, it's also keeping Capt. Richard MacDougall from Dieppe, N.B., close to heart.
MacDougall, who was the pilot of the jet, suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being ejected from the aircraft.
"Richard is part of the Air Cadet family," says MacDougall's former Air Cadet instructor, Julie Schofield-Simard. "He's got a lot of people behind him."
Meanwhile, Canadians from coast to coast continue to offer support and condolences to Nova Scotia -- a province that has seen more than its fair share of tragedy within a short time.