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Fort St. John man's good deed catches Super Bowl attention

Gary Bath has received many surprising emails and phone calls over the past couple months after he came to the rescue of an American family stranded on their way north to Alaska.
Gary Bath Good Samaritan
From left: Cst. Robert Drapeau, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault, and Staff Sergent Tim Marchessault at the Alaska-Yukon border on November 18, 2020. Bath drove from Fort St. John to Pink Mountain to drive Lynne and children to Beaver Creek after the snow storm impeded their trip from Georgia to Alaska to be reunited with Tim.

Gary Bath has received many surprising emails and phone calls over the past couple months after he came to the rescue of an American family stranded on their way north to Alaska.

But an email he received this week from marketers in the United States asking to include his story in a Super Bowl commercial was the biggest surprise of them all.

Bath took the call Tuesday from a representative with the Merkle Group, seeking permission to share his story and pictures for a commercial for Kraft Heinz Planters, set to run during halftime of Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7. 

Bath was told the company wanted to showcase his act of kindness toward others, and he happily granted permission.

"They said they wanted to highlight a good story, given everything that's happened this year," said Bath. "I was pretty floored when I got the message, I couldn't believe it. I'm quite honoured and surprised, and now I can't wait for the Super Bowl."

Bath, a Canadian ranger and military veteran in Fort St. John, stepped up to the wheel in November when a family from Georgia were caught in a snow storm at Pink Mountain and appealed for help.

Lynn Marchessault and her two children, two dogs, and a cat were on their way to join her husband, who serves in the U.S. military. But the family's pickup truck was pulling a U-Haul and did not have the appropriate winter tires to get through the winding, mountainous journey.

They began looking for someone passing through the area who could drive them and caught the attenion of Bath through their military connections and a plea for help on social media.

After some planning with his wife Selena, Bath met the family the next day, and drove them the rest of the 1,700 kilometres to the Alaska border near Beaver Creek.

The good news story made national and international headlines.

Bath said he wanted to help the family be together for Christmas, and he was doing something nice for fellow service members. 

"It’s getting close to Christmas, and you don't want to see a family split up for Christmas," Bath told the Alaska Highway News. "I heard there was a family stranded who needed help, and thought if I could help them stay together, then why not do it."

Super Bowl LV starts at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7.

— with files from The Canadian Press

Email reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca.