Discovery Channel’s Heavy Rescue 401 is coming to an end. For Gary and Colin Vandenheuval, the father-son towing duo from Sarnia, Ont. the final season is “bittersweet.”
Their family business, Preferred Towing, has been documented by the show since 2016. On Jan. 23, the first episode of the show’s last season will air.
“It’s been a great run,” Gary said, adding that showcasing his industry and business across 170 countries has been “a really neat experience.”
Colin, who has spent most of his 20s on the show, learning the family business, said he grew up watching Discovery Channel shows and has been given a chance to be a role model for others.
“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.”
Working on camera ‘nerve-wracking’ at first
Colin said the show reached out to his family’s business because Sarnia has had some of Ontario’s biggest winter storms.
“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.
While they were filming the show, Gary said a crew of three men would stay in Sarnia in a rental house from late November to March and wait for Preferred Towing to get a call, then meet them out in the field.
Windsor Morning11:27Heavy Rescue: 401
“We’ve had them there as long as 16 hours on on a couple of the bigger wrecks,” he said.
Colin said having the crew film him at work was “nerve-wracking” at first, but with the same camera crew returning every season, he got more comfortable.
“You don’t even notice the cameras there anymore and it just becomes part of what you do.”
Screening the premiere
The Vandenheuval family is hosting an advanced screening of the show at the Dante Club Hall in Sarnia this Saturday at 2 p.m.
The screening will feature best of clips, a blooper reel, food and an auction with all proceeds going to a cause close to the family’s heart.
“We have a meal and then we have some auction items that go up and all the proceeds for this goes toward Ohana Landing, which is a housing unit that my wife Tammy and I spearheaded here, it’s for youth in our community that are homeless,” he said.
“We’re really happy to give that opportunity to kids in our community.”