HALIFAX — A procession honouring the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team member who was killed in recent a plane crash will make its way through the streets of Halifax this evening.
Spectators are encouraged to wear the official Snowbirds colours of red and white to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey during the police-escorted motorcade that will carry her remains through the city to Atlantic Funeral Home on Bayers Road.
The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash of a Snowbirds Tutor jet in a residential area of Kamloops, B.C., last Sunday.
The national aerobatics team was on a cross-Canada tour to boost residents’ spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A brief homecoming ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. after Casey’s remains arrive at the Shell Aerocentre near Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
The funeral procession will then travel through the city with her family, military and invited guests, beginning along Highway 102 before turning onto Bayers Road and making a loop through the city’s north end.
Spectators are being asked to respect social distancing measures while observing the procession.
In the week since the crash, Casey’s family has described her as possessing a beautiful smile and a ”positively infectious personality” that made her the ideal person to carry out a mission aimed at stirring hope during a time of uncertainty.
Friends and former colleagues have remembered her as upbeat, professional and enthusiastic with lasting pride about her home city.
Casey earned bachelor’s degrees in arts and journalism from Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College in Halifax, as well a master’s of interdisciplinary studies from Royal Roads University in Victoria.
Before joining the Armed Forces, Casey had a career as a radio reporter, anchor and producer in Halifax and Belleville, Ont.
She began her military career as a direct entry officer August 2014 and was assigned to the Snowbirds in 2018.
The jet’s pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall of Moncton, N.B., survived the crash in Kamloops. The military has said his injuries are not life-threatening.
Operation Inspiration has been suspended while the team’s jets are subject to an “operational pause,” the team’s commander said last week. Lt.-Col. Mike French said the events were the “absolute worst nightmare” for the Snowbirds.