(Contributed)                                Love My City volunteers started their work in the Tri-Cities last year.

(Contributed) Love My City volunteers started their work in the Tri-Cities last year.

Love My City Week comes to Pitt Meadows

Plane crash survivor a founder of new movement

As the plane was going down, its wings hitting treetop branches, Dave Jonsson considered his life, and how he should have treated people better.

More than a decade later, Love My City Week is Jonsson’s new initiative. It’s coming to just its fourth city, but it’s a movement he hopes will spread across Canada. Saturday, it will come to his own city Pitt Meadows, as volunteers will paint a historic church on Harris Road, and perform other good deeds.

In the spring of 2007, one of Jonsson’s best friends back in his native Iceland, the pilot who was killed in that plane crash, got the idea of a vacation in Canada to ramp up his flying hours. Renting planes was half the price, so he could enjoy a vacation and get flying hours for the same cost as in Iceland.

Guddni Kristinnson was a good pilot, said Jonsson, but not experienced with the hazards that would come his way in the mountains of B.C.

Four friends flew out of Pitt Meadows Regional Airport in a rented Cessna 172 on Aug. 18 that year. Kristinnson had been living in Canada for three months, and it would be their last weekend of flying. They were headed for Squamish and went via Indian Arm – a common route and safe on a clear day, said Jonsson.

But their plane encountered low clouds, and they turned into a narrow canyon with steep walls. It was a no-fly zone. The plane had a full load of passengers, equipment and fuel and could not climb the steep canyon walls fast enough.

“For the very first time when he was flying, my friend showed fear.”

The young pilot tried to turn the plane around inside the canyon, and as he slowed it to try and bring it around, the plane engine stalled.

“His last words were, ‘We’re going down.’”

Jonsson remembers the trees rising up to meet the plane, and thinking about his life.

“My last memory was the wings hitting the trees.”

Then he was knocked unconscious, waking about 15 minutes after the crash.

Kristinnson had been killed.

Jonsson suffered a broken femur, knee ligament damage, and his leg was pinned underneath the seat he was sitting on.

The other passengers helped him to free his legs. They waited in the woods for six hours for an air evacuation. He was in shock. A photo shows his face covered in blood. He thought he might die there.

Jonsson, now 31, had finished high school and was working in construction, using drugs recreationally.

“If I had died in that valley, I would have been not very proud of how I lived my life.”

Facing the end, he said one doesn’t think about having more money, or more friends on Facebook.

“I thought I could have treated people better. At the end of life, what’s most important is relationships.”

The experience changed him.

“It was the day of my rebirth. My second chance.”

He went looking for meaning in his life, an intense pursuit. It led him to study theology.

“In our heart, our essence as human beings, is this desire to love and be loved,” he said.

He is now a pastor with Riverside Community Church in Port Coquitlam, and last year founded Love My City. He works with a team of 10 young adults who are passionate about philanthropy.

READ ALSO: Random acts of kindness a memorial

“Our vision is to unify the city through simple acts of love,” he said.

Love My City Week is July 6-14. It kicked off last year in the Tri-Cities, with 1,000 volunteers working at eight different sites. They cleaned up 840 cemetery tombstones, and filled 110 bags of garbage with litter, and it was followed by a concert at Lafarge Lake.

Added to the roster of cities involved this year will be Pitt Meadows, and volunteers are being recruited to paint the Pitt Meadows United Church, a 98-year-old heritage building at the corner of Harris and Ford roads that hasn’t been painted in about 20 years.

There are sponsors. Organizers have 8,000 units donated by Coca-Cola, and plan to give them to volunteers, and hand them out to members of the public.

Jonsson thinks about Christmas, and the spirit of giving in the holiday season, and wants to see that same kind of feeling in July each year, just for one week.

“How awesome would it be, where across our nation our cities are bettered by our people for a week.”

• Those interested are asked to sign up at lovemycityweek.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)                                Dave Jonsson is expanding his Love My City initiative to his home town Pitt Meadows this year.

(Neil Corbett/THE NEWS) Dave Jonsson is expanding his Love My City initiative to his home town Pitt Meadows this year.

Just Posted

The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery will be running a photography exhibition through February and March.
Pitt Meadows Art Gallery featuring photography

Pros and amateurs submitted their images on a variety of themes

Fraser Health declares outbreak over at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google Maps)
Outbreak at Ridge Meadows Hospital declared over

The outbreak was announced at the end of December in an inpatient rehab unit at Maple Ridge hospital

The group opposing CP Rail’s proposed logistics park in Pitt Meadows has gathered signs and other materials to rally opposition. (Special to The News)
STOPCPRAIL group would stop coming rail projects in Pitt Meadows

Council wants to proceed with Harris Road underpass

Maple Ridge’s Lynda Summers took this trio in early January 2021. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Horses in January

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Victor Okunev found this abandoned floating dock on the shores of Pitt Lake. (Facebook)
Nature lover takes it upon himself to clean up Styrofoam mess along Pitt Lake

“If you see trash – pick it up!” says Port Moody’s Victor Okunev

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read