Enbridge renames hangar in honour of Sarnia helicopter pilot

(From left to right) Melody Gibson, Donald Berrill, Cynthia Hansen, Bob Rooney, Paul Gingrich, Vern Yu and Ethan Saraiva honouring fallen pilot Dean Bass. July 24, 2019. (Photo by Enbridge)

Enbridge is hoping to keep the memory of a fallen helicopter pilot alive.

Sarnia native Dean Bass, 64, died last October when his chopper crashed in Wisconsin during a routine pipeline monitoring flight.

Late last month, Enbridge hosted Bass’s family and nearly 100 of his colleagues at the Sarnia airport to unveil the renamed Dean Bass Memorial Hangar, located just to the south of the airport terminal.

Senior Advisor Ken Hall said it’s a way to celebrate and acknowledge Bass’s passion for flying.

“He was an individual with a unique character, a true team player, somebody who was always willing to step up and help whenever he could,” said Hall. “There were numerous tragedies across Canada over the years, the forest fires in Fort McMurray for example, where Dean volunteered his time to assist communities. So it wasn’t just what he did for Enbridge, it’s what he did for our communities as well that made him a very special person to all of us.”

Hall said the company also announced the creation of the Dean Bass Memorial Flight Training Scholarship, which will provide $5,000 annually to the Sarnia Imperial Squadron 44 Air Cadets.

“The intent of that funding will be to assist young cadets in pursuing their aviation dreams through obtaining their pilot’s licence and other things, which is an expensive process, to help these young people who have chose to pursue a career in aviation — we think that Dean would be very, very pleased to see that happening in his memory,” he said.

Hall said over his 20 years with Enbridge, Bass was always willing to fly volunteer helicopter rides for organizations like the Inn of the Good Shepherd, Communities in Blooms and others.

Hall said Bass was always willing to help.

“He was an outgoing person, very good with people, everybody liked him — he will be sorely missed, to put it mildly,” said Hall. “If I can say, I think his immediate family too, recognizes that he was a beloved individual at Enbridge and I think that they appreciated the service that we were able to pull together for him.”

Bass logged more than 20,000 flight hours over four decades in the air.