A little girl made a big decision for her 8th birthday and brought some music into the lives of some wounded Canadian soldiers ...
By JOE WARMINGTON
But Erin McClary sings a different tune, and wanted a wounded Canadian soldier to have it instead.
In fact, she accepted no presents at all -- instead asking every guest invited to her birthday party Sunday in her hometown of Washago to bring some money in lieu of.
They did -- $2,830 to be precise. Her party ended up having 49 people -- all gung-ho and just as impressive with their donations. "It was really something," said her mom, Maureen, who with husband Patrick and their 5-year-old son Daniel are proud of their new celebrity. "So many people wanted to do their part."
It takes kids to teach some lessons sometimes.
"I really wanted to do something for our soldiers," explains Erin.
And there you (and I) were becoming all cynical thanks to the latest scandal involving greedy lotto insiders. There's still some good stories out there, folks. And some good people.
"She is a national treasure," says Capt. Wayne Johnston, who was overwhelmed when he heard about this little girl in Washago who wanted to do something for her troops.
Erin said it was simple to her. "I don't need any (more toys). I just want to help them," she said. "My mom showed me the story about the wounded soldiers in the newspaper and I wanted to raise some money for this."
The story was about Sapper Mike McTeague, badly wounded by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last September. His dad had helped start the Wounded Warrior Fund to assist soldiers during their time in recovery.
Having visited Mike several times in hospital, let me tell you it's hard time for them. And when over in Germany at the U.S. military hospital, Capt. Johnston noticed that while they had everything medically they needed, there was little to occupy their minds.
So in the name of McTeague the fund was started to raise some cash so that a kit could be readied to send to a soldier at a moment's notice. In it would be things like iPods and MP3 players, and DVDs and CDs, and perhaps a Team Canada hockey sweater and some other treats.
It's so important because remember some hospitals charge for phone and TV rentals -- and that can add up if you are in there for a year. Believe me, some of them have.
Mike McTeague is one -- although the Miracle Kid is on his way back. And he was there Sunday at Erin's party. "I was kind of shaky because I was so excited to meet him," she said. "I told him he is a real hero."
She ought to know about heroes because it's selfless like hers that's the definition for me. When they hand out the Order of Canada medals next time, her name likely won't be there but should be instead of some political hack.
Her timing is perfect since, sadly, we may be mere weeks away from potential severe warfare and more casualties. The fund is ready. "We have raised more than $75,000," said Johnston, another guy who should get one of those Orders of Canada.
Don Cherry, who everyone knows amazingly is not a member of the Order either, is a huge supporter of this program.
If you want to help out, you can send any donation to :
Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund
Web Site www.woundedwarriors.ca ...or attend a function March 29th featuring Canada's Three Tenors at 7:30 at the Immaculate Conception Church, 300 Ansley Grove Rd., in Woodbridge.
We all wonder how difficult it is to get this stuff for our soldiers -- yet someone like fired Ontario Lottery Corp. boss Duncan Brown can get a severance package for 10 times more at $750,000. It's nuts. I say, take it back and put that money for healing troops. Until logic like that kicks in, it will be people like an 8-year-old girl named Erin who have the back of the men and women who risk it all in our name. I still think the kid should get an iPod for her birthday, but she said she'd donate it to a wounded soldier anyway.