Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

A woman from Georgia says her family’s reunion was saved by a man from British Columbia who drove them to the Alaskan border after they got stranded in a snowstorm and appealed for help.

Lynn Marchessault began her trip with her two children, two dogs and a cat on Nov. 10 from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in the U.S. military.

“I had never driven in the snow,” she said in an interview on Monday.

“It was like a whiteout kind of snowstorm. I wasn’t really familiar with that, or even knew what it was called until this day.”

The family’s pickup truck was pulling a U-Haul and did not have the appropriate winter tires to get through the winding, mountainous roads when they stopped at a highway lodge for temporary workers in Pink Mountain, B.C., on Nov. 17.

She began looking for someone passing through the area who could drive them when Gary Bath, a Canadian ranger and military veteran, stepped up to the wheel.

Marchessault said she and her husband talked to Bath and his family on the phone before they embarked on the rest of their trip.

“I felt good about it from the beginning, like I knew these were good people and that it was a good choice to make,” she said.

Marchessault said her trip was supposed to have taken place about two months ago but it got delayed by COVID-19, adding that she was “naive” about the road conditions.

Bath, who lives in Fort St. John, said he wanted to help the family be together for Christmas, and he was doing something nice for fellow service members.

“A little bit like Santa Claus in this case,” he said with a chuckle.

Marchessault said the 1,700-kilometre drive to the Alaskan border near Beaver Creek, Yukon, is “not a road for the faint of heart.”

“Oh my goodness, beautiful views, amazing views, but some of those parts of the road were a little bit scary for me,” she said laughing.

“I mean, Gary’s just over there driving like a champ, you know, been doing it his whole life. But for me, I was like ‘Oh my goodness.’ Sometimes I would tell him I have enough anxiety and sweaty palms over here in this seat for the both of us and then he would just kind of chuckle.”

Bath said the two-day trip was “quite windy and really bumpy” but “not too bad.”

The two families hope to meet up soon.

“I’m so glad that the whole thing was over, but it was so hard to say goodbye to Gary and leave him,” Marchessault said.

“We really bonded. I think we’ve become good friends. He’s a great and grand guy and his wife is pretty awesome.”

READ MORE: Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

READ MORE: Bear cub tries to cross U.S.-Canada border, taken to wildlife shelter instead

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

alaskaBritish ColumbiaCoronavirusUSA

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

Just Posted

City workers build scaffolding as work begins on refurbishing Quesnel’s gold pan. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel gold pan discussion flares during council’s capital plan debate

Councillor Ron Paull wanted to move the landmark instead of investing in a backdrop

The Jan. 20 Quesnel Cariboo Observer features team photos from the Quesnel and District Minor Hockey Association. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Minor Hockey shines in Observer special section

This week’s paper features one of the few sporting activities still allowed to continue

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Robert Dale Stanton of Clinton was last heard from on Jan. 9, and police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo credit: RCMP)
Police ask for help in locating missing Clinton man

Robert Dale Stanton was last heard from on Jan. 9 and is believed to be in the Clinton/70 Mile area

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Most Read