Tim Jones, OBC, was born May 30th, 1956 to Owen and Mary Jones in Edmonton, Alberta. He was the youngest of three children. In 1962 he moved to North Vancouver, BC where his passion for the North Shore and our proximate mountains started.
Tim went to Handsworth Secondary School where his passion for football began. This carried on when he received a full ride scholarship to Simon Fraser University to play football as a Center for the Clan. After completing his Bachelors of Arts in Geography, he was drafted to the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. However, he was only able to play for a short time with a knee injury forcing him to quit.
Upon his return to Vancouver, he re-enrolled at Simon Fraser, where he completed his Professional Development Program to become a teacher. Working as a substitute teacher and coaching football, Tim worked for a period with the North Vancouver School District.
In 1981, Tim met his wife to be, Lindsay, while on a ski trip to Mount Baker. In 1984 they were married. Their son Curtis was born in 1986, followed by their daughter Taylor in 1989. The Jones family resided in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Click Here for Family Pictures.
British Columbia Ambulance Service (Click Here for Pictures)
While substituting for the North Vancouver School District, Tim took an interest in first aid. He completed his Industrial First Aid ticket (now the occupational first aid level 3) and worked at a lumber mill to service his student debt and to pay the bills. This interest in first aid was parleyed into ride alongs with BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) paramedics in West Vancouver. He was hooked and was soon working part-time for BCAS in West Vancouver as a Emergency Medical Assistant (EMA) Level 1.
Many of the fond memories of Tim from this time described a junior paramedic who never stopped trying to be better at his profession. His drive to help others drove his professionalism. The better he was at his job, the more people he could help. He was studious, taking the initiative to memorize medical textbooks and pursue the highest levels of his profession. He was also committed developing a career, volunteering to sleep at the part-time station, without pay, to be able to respond to calls faster.
After receiving a full-time posting to Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside, his profession took off. While raising a young family he was enrolled in several advanced training programs which had a reputation for being all-consuming with high fail rates (they only took the best of the best). Completing this program, Tim became a licensed Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic and put his skills to use. In 1990, Tim was appointed the Paramedic In Charge (Unit Chief) in North Vancouver, where he remained until his death.
While his work on car saved many lives, Tim was also a teacher and a planner. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, putting his education degree to use, Tim taught other aspiring paramedics at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. He was also widely known as the driving force behind BC Ambulance Service’s disaster response capabilities. Working with BC Transit, Tim developed a device that allowed buses to be converted into ambulances, he arranged placement of medical caches throughout communities, and he was instrumental in creating disaster response cars. He was a master of disaster and his work set the foundation for modern mass casualty response and triage within the service. While being a paramedic was his paid profession, unlike other emergency services, much of his work was done on his own time (meetings, planning, training).
Pay was never a motivator for Tim. He disliked overtime and staunchly avoided it. This was because it took away from his other passions, including Search and Rescue.
North Shore Rescue (Click Here for Pictures)
Tim started with the all volunteer North Shore Rescue team as a resource member in the early 1990s, assisting the team in his role as an advanced life support paramedic. Once he became a member of the team, he recognized the need for a professional and well equipped service on the north shore and across the province and started to fundraise and advocate for the change. In his efforts, Tim would often work 50 hours a week in addition to his paid job as a paramedic.
Through his work as a search and rescue team member, Tim saved over 1600 lives in his decades of service. Additionally, he was the driving force in North Shore Rescue becoming the first British Columbia search and rescue team to implement the Helicopter Flight Rescue System also known as HETS. While his list of achievements with North Shore Rescue was endless, some of the highlights included:
- Building a professional radio communications system (fundraising, technical specifications, installation, programming, maintenance). This work is normally done by full-time staff or highly paid contractors, but Tim learned how to do it and did it.
- Fundraising and acting as project manager for several rescue vehicle procurements and a state-of-the-art rescue facility
- Created and implemented the teams remote rescue cache program
- Created and implemented the teams SAR station program (Cypress, Capilano Gate, Bone Creek, Seymour, Indian Arm)
- Created the Kayak Rescue Team to move away from more dangerous swimmer only swift water rescue techniques
- Developed a Helicopter Rescue team model and training program that has been replicated across the SAR world
- Developed numerous operational kits that have been copied by many other SAR teams
While he attended countless meetings, called supporters, and generally spent countless hours securing commitments and funds, he also managed all the logistics of the team. A fond memory recited of Tim by an NSR member was that no matter the day of the week, if you wanted to see Tim, all you had to do was spend an hour at the rescue facility. He would inevitably show up with some project to be done. Tim made sure the team was prepared at all times, both in the sense of Training and with equipment.
In 2013, Tim spent hundreds of hours on the phone and in meetings dealing a regulatory problem that could have grounded every search and rescue team in the Country that utilized HETS (including Parks Canada). His intervention unquestionably saved the program, and in turn, saved many lives. This is just one of many examples of Tim’s commitment to Search and Rescue.
While Tim’s advocacy through back channels helped define Search and Rescue in this province, his work in the media was equally important. Through his countless interactions with the media, Jones advocated for search and rescue volunteers across the province. Jones lobbied government for adequate funding and recognition of its volunteers. In 2014 the federal government of Canada recognized Jones in the budget by dedicating a national search and rescue volunteer tax credit in his name.
Tim received numerous awards and honours for his service to the community, among them were:
- Inducted into the 2014 Simon Fraser University Clan Sports Hall of Fame under the Terry Fox Honourary Category. He is the only person other than Fox himself to so recognized.
- Federal Tax Credit for search and rescue volunteers in Canada named in his honour
- The Order of British Columbia
- Honorary Doctor of Laws from Capilano University
- The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal
- RCMP Award for Bravery (Theta Lake)
- BC Ambulance Exemplary Service Medal
In 2012, Tim was also recognized for his dedication and personal sacrifice for the community, when he was sent on an all expenses paid vacation to England as part of the reality TV show, Operation Vacation. This was at the culmination of the Rescue Base project which he poured his heart and soul into.
After a evening dedicated to thanking supporters of the team at the team cabin on Mount Seymour, Tim was accompanying a fellow teammate who had become ill, off the mountain with his daughter Taylor. Just minutes from the parking lot, Tim collapsed. Within seconds of his collapse, he received CPR from his daughter and teammate while help was on the way. Their efforts culminated in a massive undertaking to save his life which involved other members of NSR, ski patrol, many skilled paramedics from BC Ambulance, North Vancouver District Fire, the RCMP, and Lions Gate Emergency staff. All the stops were pulled out, but it was not enough. On January 19, 2014, in the early evening, Tim Jones, the saviour of so many, died from a sudden cardiac arrest.
On January 24, thousands of emergency services personnel and members of the community attended a parade and ceremony held in his honour. Both the Premier of British Columbia and the Prime Minister sent condolences which were read at the ceremony. Honouring Tim’s love of helicopter based SAR, one of Tim’s close friends and fellow team member, Doug Pope, said “Tim always believed you could never have too many helicopters at a rescue, and today we learned that you can’t have too many helicopters at a memorial either”. At the end of the ceremony his ashes were taken away by the helicopter that he flew on many rescue missions.
Following his death, members of the community suggested naming the second peak of Seymour after Jones. Shortly after this bivouac.com, an online database, changed the name to Tim Jones Peak. With the backing of local politicians, a strong movement has now formed to officially name the peak.