Feature, Sarnia — By JD Booth on May 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm
As the helicopter’s rotors cut through the frigid Newfoundland air, Jessica Gibbons wonders ‘how did I get so lucky.’
She peers a few hundred feet below and watches a herd of moose crossing the snow-topped land. Moments later she spots a rushing waterfall.
Jessica thinks she’s in paradise. Then, she realizes she’s not on a sightseeing tour but on an air ambulance rescue mission. She’s headed to a remote, mountainous region in the western portion of the island province.
“It was an adventure for sure. It was so surreal,” says the graduate of Lambton’s two-year Paramedic program.
This paramedic was tasked with locating and providing medical aid to an injured patient stranded on a small ice-covered pond in the mountains.
“That experience was really exhilarating. I had never been on a helicopter before,” she says. That’s why she loves her work, as every day and every call is different.
“It hardly seems like work most days,” continues the 23-year-old, who now calls Norris Point, Nfld. home. “It’s a dream job.”
She graduated from Lambton’s Paramedic program in 2008. She met Adam Paisley in that program and the pair are now engaged. They discovered that Newfoundland was “crying” for paramedics. Both adventurous souls, they jumped at the opportunity.
Despite some homesickness, Jessica says their experience to date couldn’t have been any better.
“You can’t imagine how great it is here,” she says.
They snowshoe, and their front door opens to a natural paradise. They live within a stone’s throw of one of the country’s most beautiful parks — Gros Morne National Park. They get to mingle with caribou and snuggle baby seals.
“It is just breathtaking everywhere you look here.”
Just when she thought her life couldn’t get more adventurous, Jessica entered an online contest searching for the Coldest Canadian. Her two-minute video showcases footage of her playing with snow-white seals, introducing her moose friends Bob and Carol and snowmobiling one of the many trails along the east coast province.
She won. Her prize — an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand that will serve as her honeymoon.
So, her decision to attend Lambton College led to her meeting her future husband and landing a dream job in a beautifully scenic locale that provided the backdrop for becoming Air New Zealand’s Coldest Canadian.
“At Lambton, the instructors there really want to do the best to help you succeed,” she says.
Jessica and fiancée Adam decided they’d give their Newfoundland experience a year and then re-evaluate their choices. That was two years ago. So they’ve succeeded, and then some.
“We can’t see ourselves anywhere else right now,” she says, bragging their lives are “a permanent vacation.”