An Adventist family man and firefighter has died along with his instructor in an ultra-light plane crash.
Jason Caswell, 37, who was training for his pilot’s licence, was the head deacon and Adventurer leader at Rockhampton Adventist church as well as being the district Pathfinder director.
"He loved helping people, especially the young people. He wanted to invest in them."
The crash site was discovered 1km from the Hedlow airstrip on Friday afternoon (November 27). According to local residents the craft had been performing “touch and go” landings and take-offs.
Rockhampton church senior pastor Mark Turner described Mr Caswell as a practical man who loved the outdoors and working with youth.
“To be honest, I didn’t realise the impact he had on our church community until his passing,” Pastor Turner said. “I’ve had phone calls from all over Queensland from people who he had impacted through STORMCo and in other capacities.”
Mr Caswell had also lived in Townsville and Bowen, being actively involved in the churches and communities in those areas.
A veteran of many STORMCo trips and Pathfinder camps, Mr Caswell had recently taken on Adventurers leadership as his children are in that age group.
“His greatest contribution was in the area of youth ministry,” Pastor Turner said. “The young people are absolutely gutted. He was always positive and the first thing you’d notice about him was his great smile. He loved helping people, especially the young people. He wanted to invest in them.”
According to Pastor Turner, Rockhampton church is providing a Christian counsellor to be onsite tonight from 5pm for the older Pathfinders and youth, so that they can debrief, work through the grieving process and share reflections.
“As a church community we’ve tried to rally around the family as best we can. Our church members are grieving too. Coming to church on Sabbath was tough for all of us. We had a special prayer time in Sabbath School and debriefed about what we felt. I just scrapped what I had prepared and shared thoughts of hope and encouragement.”
Outside of the church community, Mr Caswell was a loved and respected member of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES). He served for 11 years in Townsville and Rockhampton.
“Jason was highly regarded by all his colleagues who saw him as a family man, community minded. They knew his church commitments and respected him for that. His contribution to the fire service was immense,” added Pastor Turner.
The funeral will be held at Rockhampton Adventist Church on Monday, December 5, where a large crowd of up to 500 people is expected. The church will be filled to capacity and there are plans to provide overflow seating in the hall. QFES personnel from Rockhampton and Townsville will be attending to perform the ceremonial aspect and form a guard of honour, including four or five fire engines.
“Please pray for the family and for us as a church,” Pastor Turner said. “Our community is grieving but when we all come together on Monday, it will be a witness and a testament to the man Jason was. He made a huge contribution and someone said the other day, that if we had a church full of Jasons we wouldn’t have to worry about anything.”
Mr Caswell is survived by his wife, Karen, and their two young children.
Watch funeral live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLrQ_9M5HZw
Monday December 5, 9am, Qld time.