Sarnia, Ontario — Sad news for fans of the Discovery Channel’s popular show, “Heavy Rescue 401”, as the father-son towing team of Gary and Colin Vandenheuval prepare to watch the “bittersweet” final season alongside the show’s dedicated fans.
The duo hosted an advanced screening of the final season’s premiere in their hometown of Sarnia, Ont. on Saturday, according to the CBC, to celebrate “a great run” as television personalities on the Discovery Channel, dating back to 2016.
As among the youngest towing professionals to be featured on the show, Colin says he takes a lot of satisfaction in the influence he has had on other young people who are curious about the towing industry.
“You know, now I’ve got kids showing up at the door saying ‘I watch you, I wanna do what you do,’” he said.
“And, you know, that’s neat for me because I’ve influenced a generation to look at a different career because not a lot of people think of towing as a career.”
The pair say that a reputation for good work in spite of the Sarnia area’s especially harsh snowstorms is likely what earned their business, Preferred Towing, a call from the show’s producers.
“Everybody could remember the storm, the big snowmageddon that came through here and blocked the highway down for about five days. So you know, our name came up a couple of times,” Gary said.
He told the CBC that doing his work while under the watch of cameras was “nerve-wracking” at first, but once he saw the dedication his assigned crew was putting into documenting him, sometimes putting in up to 16 hours of work to cover some larger recoveries according to Gary, the relationship became much more comfortable.
“You don’t even notice the cameras there anymore and it just becomes part of what you do.”
Gary’s wife Tammy has since used the platform provided by the show to help amplify Preferred Towing’s primary community venture, a community housing unit in Sarnia aimed at addressing youth homelessness, called “Ohana Landing.”
Proceeds generated by the Vandenheuvals’ recent season premiere screening, which included a meal and auctions, were put toward funding the ongoing Ohana Landing project, according to Gary.
“We’re really happy to give that opportunity to kids in our community.”