The Vernon Search and Rescue Society is in mourning after the sudden death of a member who dedicated more than 45 years of his life to keeping his community safe, no matter the time or the place.
“It is with deep sadness and heartache Vernon SAR mourns the loss of one of our members, Jon Ottesen,” VSAR said in a post on its Facebook page Friday.
“His passing has suspended reality for all of us. It was way too soon, and words cannot describe how we feel at the loss of our friend.”
Ottesen passed away on Jan. 2. He’d worn many hats for VSAR, serving as manager, team leader, swiftwater and boat team member, ATV team member and much more. He spent many years on VSAR’s board of directors, helping to guide the direction of the vital crew.
“He was our champion and helped steer the course of the team for many years,” VSAR said. “In his quiet, kind, and thoughtful way, he never complained but set an example.”
At the end of the day, when all in the area were safe and accounted for, he went home and was a father, friend and mentor to many.
“Jon loved his family. They were his pride and joy and he spoke of them often and their many achievements. He loved the water, his ATVs, driving backroads and exploring. Jon loved. He made the world a brighter and better place. He was an extraordinary man.”
Heartfelt condolences have been pouring in on social media from members of the Vernon community and well beyond. The British Columbia Search and Rescue Association was among the organizations that offered condolences to Ottesen’s friends and family.
The public is asked to respect the family’s privacy during this time.