Nick Jensen died nineteen years ago but his memory carries on

Nick Jensen (Shelby Reilly/News 10)

Today is the nineteenth anniversary of Nick Jensen's death from drowning in the Illinois River.

After facing a mother's worst nightmare, Jana Jensen is still doing everything she can to make sure the community has the resources it needs to make sure everyone involved in an accident has their best shot at making it home.

Almost two decades later, and Jana Jensen is continuing her sons’ legacy by helping Josephine county search and rescue.

“We invite people to come here and enjoy our great outdoors and I feel like it’s up to us to be able to help them should they get in trouble and need help,” Jana Jensen, mother of Nick Jensen, said.

Jensen said that initially, Josephine County Search and Rescue were running out of a small house with hardly any equipment.

“And now they’re in this gorgeous space and they’ve been able to outfit it and get donations and put more things and get more equipment to help people,” Jensen said.

Jensen and her family host 10 cycle-cross races in Southern Oregon each year to help raise money for search and rescue and new equipment they may need.

“We rely completely on donations and grants. We do have people that have big hearts and want to do great things but we do have, just like every search and rescue organization we are limited by the equipment that we have or don’t have,” Deputy Maria Valdez, Search and Rescue Coordinator said.

Search and Rescue now has multiple cars, a boat, trailers, and even a classroom to certify potential search and rescue members.

“In the blink of an eye, you’re outside enjoying everything, it’s beautiful, and in the blink of an eye something can go wrong and you’re going to need help,” Jensen said.

The newer Search and Rescue equipment has stickers on them in remembrance of Nick, so they carry him with them wherever they go.

“Search and rescue does more than just rescues. Our main goal is to try and bring families back together,” Valdez said.

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