Nick served with Central Cariboo Search and Rescue for over 10 years with enthusiasm, and a great sense of humour. He was dedicated, up for any task, and a great mentor to new members.
To share a small example for the thoughtful and kind man Nick was and the effect he had on all, is a small story. A couple of years ago, 3 new members of CCSAR needed to complete their General Ground Search and Rescue overnighter. Nick immediately offered up his property for use, and to supervise. The members successfully completed the overnighter, and were delightfully surprised in the morning, when Nick brought them into his home, and had prepared a full course breakfast. He positively spoiled these members. The meal was large enough, and delicious enough, to rival that of a 5-star buffet.
Little did Nick know; his act of kindness started a trend. Before he passed, CCSAR members continued on his act, by making the next group of members who completed their overnighter, breakfast in the morning. The show of respect and care, is beyond touching for all members involved, and is a tradition that will continue within CCSAR. Furthermore, you can not enter the CCSAR training room without thinking of Nick Van Helsdingen. The way his laughter, light-hearted candour and enthusiasm would light up every practice, was infectious. The CCSAR training room will no longer be just that, but will be the Nick Van Helsdingen room.
Nick is survived by his loving wife, Sherry Foster, step-son and daughter in law. He will be missed by many, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.
All of Central Cariboo Search and Rescue mourns his passing. Every time there is laughter at practice, there is an overnighter for new members, or we are dispatched on a new task, we will be thinking of Nick. Each step we take, every time we smile, every high and low, we will be thinking of Nick. Serving his community, making us laugh, and continuing to be the dedicated and kind man we was, he will be with us.