On the one-year anniversary of the devastating plane crash during the Snowbirds “Operation Inspiration,” the City of Kamloops announced plans for a new, permanent memorial to remember Capt. Jennifer Casey.
The memorial will have a home in the future Fulton Field Park, which will be located on Tranquille Road near the Kamloops Airport.
“This was a tragedy that rocked our community to the core and an event that will remain a part of Kamloops history,” Mayor Ken Christian said in a press release. “The Brocklehurst neighbourhood was particularly affected, and we would like to honour the community, the Snowbirds, and Capt. Jennifer Casey through curated memorials at Fulton Field Park.
“The park will be a place of observation, remembrance and honour for the history of the Canadian military and the Snowbirds within our community.”
Casey was killed on May 17, 2020, after the jet she and on-board member Capt. Richard MacDougall occupied rose, then circled and crashed in the Brocklehurst neighbourhood shortly after takeoff. The cause of the crash was later determined to be a bird strike, causing the compressor to stall and result in a loss of power to the engine.
The Snowbirds had been flying across Canada, first taking off from the Maritimes in early May. The Operation Inspiration flight was to boost morale for Canadians who had spent months in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Casey, who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2014, after working as a journalist in Halifax and Belleville, became part of the Snowbirds in November 2018 after spending most of that year with the CF-18 Demo Team. She initially worked as a direct entry officer and then as a public affairs officer for Royal Canadian Air Force at 8 Wing Trenton, RCAF’s base for air mobility.
“It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since the tragic accident that claimed the life of my partner and best friend Jenn,” said Capt. Scott Boyd, who was present during the announcement. “The kindness, compassion and support shown by the community of Brocklehurst, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, Shuswap Nation and the Rocky Mountain Rangers on that day and over the past year have been absolutely incredible.
“The City of Kamloops will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I could not be more proud to be a Canadian and a British Columbian.”
Fulton Field Park is currently in the designing phase. Early renderings envision flower beds, pathways, bench seating and an artist tribute memorial to Casey and the Snowbirds, as well as curated boards describing the history of Fulton Field and Kamloops’ connection to the Canadian military.
The park is scheduled to be constructed in 2023 in conjunction with other projects along Tranquille Road.