Home in time for dinner: A Christmas of gratitude for family of 442 Squadron flood rescue crew

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News Article / December 16, 2021

Holly Bridges, RCAF Family Advocate

“Daddy rescue people on mountain? Good job Daddy.” It’s a question only a three-year-old child can ask.

Repeat three times and that’s what Kelly-Lynn Nicole’s triplet boys kept asking the day 442 Search and Rescue Squadron rescued more than 300 people and their pets last month. Her other two young children were pretty excited too.

Kelly-Lynn’s husband, flight engineer and instructor Master Corporal Dan Domonkos, was pulled from a training session to join the rescue aboard one of the CH-149 Cormorant helicopters involved in the rescue. Following a torrential downpour, hundreds of drivers were left stranded on a flooded stretch of Highway 7 near Agassiz, B.C. Three Cormorant helicopter crews rescued the stranded motorists during what can only be described as challenging flying over austere, unstable terrain.

Although it was not the usual life-and-death mission 442 Squadron most often performs, it was definitely a gratifying and rewarding one for the family history books.

“It’s always nice to be able to relieve people from stressful situations,” says Cpl Domonkos. “It’s nice to show up to a tasking and have people come aboard that aren’t in dire need of medical attention. People from all walks of life came on board that day including their pets. It was nice to have some people in such a situation who were merely excited during the helicopter ride to distract them from what they had just endured.”

Kelly-Lynn and her five children are extremely proud of Cpl Domonkos and the entire squadron for what they did that day. In some ways, it was “just another day” as a search and rescue spouse for Kelly-Lynn, knowing her husband was out on a critical mission; she was managing things at home, dealing with the kids and not quite knowing when her husband would return. Yet despite the harrowing circumstances surrounding the landslides and the rescue mission, Cpl Domonkos was home for dinner that night.

“He was pretty tired. Definitely not the kind of day he expected.  My reaction was just so amazed at how fast they did that major rescue and to have him home for dinner! All in a day’s work in helping the people of our country.  I gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was of him. I was relieved to have him home.”

The experience of watching the landslides unfold (the family had travelled that very road this past summer while driving to their new posting from Greenwood) and the devastation it brought to so many families touched Kelly-Lynn in a way that is particularly poignant during the holiday season.

“As a result of this mission, I think this Christmas we will definitely count our blessings. With the flooding and this mission, we had talked to our oldest daughter about how some people had to leave their homes. Some may have had no way home for a while and other thoughts about how much worse it could have been for these people. You just never really know. We really have it good. A healthy family, a roof over our heads. Hugging our loved ones tight and being thankful.”

 

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