WINNIPEG — The body of a Royal Canadian Air Force search and rescue technician who died during a training exercise near Yorkton, Sask. returned to Winnipeg Monday.
Master Cpl. Alfred Barr, 31, was part of the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 17 Wing.
Barr died on Wednesday after a potential malfunction in his parachute.
An investigation has been launched into the incident.
Originally from Lethbridge, Alta., Barr enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2009. He arrived at 17 Wing in June.
Barr’s fiancee, Stephanie Hempel issued a statement on Monday.
“Alfred Barr was the most amazing man I have ever known. He was incredibly kind and thoughtful, someone who always put others before himself. He was continually encouraging and positive, even in difficult circumstances, and motivated me and others to be hardworking and try different things. He valued his family immensely and also became an integral member of my family.
Alfred was incredibly intelligent and talented, yet modest about his accomplishments. He was a life-long learner and had so many creative hobbies and interests, including cooking, woodworking, and leatherwork. When we first started dating long distance, we wrote letters to one another, and Alfred would use fine paper, calligraphy pens and seal the envelopes with wax. He simply went all out for us.
He loved to create physical challenges for himself, like ultra-marathons, fat biking, and canoeing. He would try everything at least once. Many of his adventures involved nature and the Canadian wilderness. Beyond these things, he took it upon himself to learn about other cultures and was learning other languages like Danish, German, and French.
Alfred was a true Canadian. He loved the Albertan mountains, especially Waterton National Park. Being originally from Fort Nelson, BC, and later calling Lethbridge, Alberta his hometown, he also shared a great love for the wild woods and cooler temperatures where he could practice bush craft skills and camping.
I will cherish the love we had together forever. He was the kind of man who lived life to the fullest. He loved life.
Alfred always showed me the kind of love that everyone should have. The kind of mushy gushy love that makes you feel warm and envelops you like a cocoon. Alfred was my cocoon. He showed me safety and adventure. And what happened to him is cruel and unfair but he understood the risks, and took them knowingly. He always did. He knew the dangers of his job, and fully embraced the Search and Rescue Technician motto: ‘that others may live’. I am so proud of his courage, strength, and devotion to help others.
Alfred always worried about the gifts he would give me. If they were enough. But he gave me the gift of true love. He gave me life. And I hope that I can honour him by following his example, to share his enthusiasm for life with others.
This feels like such a surreal situation. I keep expecting Alfred to walk through the door. He and I were so happy together. We had plans to travel, to have children, and to grow old in each other’s company. We were just setting out on our adventure together. He didn’t deserve to die. I miss him terribly, and he will be in my heart forever.”