Our hearts break again. This weekend, we learned that King’s Journalism graduate, Capt. Jennifer Casey, BJ’11, who served as a public affairs officer with the Canadian Snowbirds, lost her life when the acrobatic jet she was in tragically crashed in Kamloops, B.C.
Our sorrow is more poignant knowing Jennifer and the Canadian Snowbirds were engaged in Operation Inspiration, a national mission which began in Nova Scotia (Jennifer’s native province), to raise our spirits and honour front-line workers in these already difficult times.
Upon completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at Dalhousie in 2007, Jennifer approached her King’s degree in two stages: she started with the class of ‘08/’09, but left King’s before completing her degree to take a job as a producer with News 95.7 Radio. Radio industry colleagues included King’s alumna Lisa Blackburn, BJ’90. “Jenn was one of the brightest journalism minds I ever worked with. Thinking of her friends and family at News. 95.7,” Blackburn said. Others have described Jennifer as an “amazing human being,” and as “the brightest of lights,” with “a smile and laugh that lit up the universe.”
Jennifer returned to King’s in 2010 to complete the workshop that was her final degree requirement, graduating in 2011. Professor Stephen Kimber, who taught Jennifer, remembers her as “full of energy and eager to get on with life.”
Steven Woodhead, BJ’09, was Jennifer’s classmate at King’s. He told King’s theirs was a close-knit class. “I remember her as an incredibly kind, incredibly down-to-earth person who was well-liked by everyone in the program.”
Bre McAdam, BJ’09, shared these sentiments with King’s: “I’m heartbroken to learn about the death of my former King’s classmate Jenn Casey…I believe she was the first person (from our class) to have a journalism job (in radio in Halifax). She was a go-getter and I was not surprised when she became a Snowbird, and I always respected how she lived her life with a sense of adventure and passion. I am proud to have gone to King’s with her.”
After working at News 95.7 in Halifax, Jennifer worked for Quinte Broadcasting in Belleville, Ont. starting in 2013. In 2014, she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer in November 2018.
“The RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team,” Command RCAF tweeted on Sunday night. “We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends. Our thoughts are also with the loved ones of Captain MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries.”
At a time when distancing prevents the normal urge to gather and physically comfort the grieving, King’s lends all the love it can to Jennifer’s family, friends and colleagues. We mourn with them while honouring the joy and service to others that were Jennifer’s way of living. Our compassion also goes out to the pilot of the jet, Capt. Richard MacDougall, to whom we send our hopes for a full recovery.
Jennifer will be deeply missed and brightly remembered by the King’s–Dalhousie communities. Our flags are at half-mast in her honour.