Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yellow Ribbons and More Support in Sault Ste Marie

July 31, 2007

Thank you J. for bringing this to my attention! Amazing news!
Below is a copy of a email from Sault Ste. Marie city councillor Susan Myers after council unanimously decided to place support decals on the city vehicles.
A big HUA to Susan Myers, Jennifer, May Adshead, City Council and Sault Ste. Marie Military Family Support Group!

July 26, 2006

Hi Folks,

In response to May Adshead ’s note below to the Military Family Support Group supporters, I want to share the following.

On behalf of City Council, I extend a hearty thank you to May Adshead for her work in coordinating the media event this morning with the SSM Police Services, ER and Fire Services. It was a low key event, not intended to become a political statement at all.

As most of you know, I worked with May to bring forward at her request, a resolution to City Council (seconded by Councillor Pat Mick ), for approval to direct City Staff – Police Chief Bob Davies and Fire and ER Services Chief Lynn McCoy to display the yellow Support Our Troops ribbons on all Police, Fire and ER vehicles.

It is important to note the significance of the fact that Council, by a unanimous vote, approved this resolution.

You might wonder why that was required – as Chief McCoy mentioned this morning – the City owns these vehicles and thus it is necessary for Council to provide this approval. Secondly, Chief McCoy further mentioned to me that this is historic in that many, many groups and organizations have asked over the years, for an opportunity to place some sort of “logo” on Police or Fire vehicles. The media picked up on the same issue and while interviewing me, Brian Kelly from the Sault Star asked me “why is City Council permitting this display and what will you say to other groups such as Breast Cancer should they want their pink ribbon displayed?”

My response to both Chief McCoy and Brian Kelly is that this is a unique circumstance. Our troops are not an organization, they are us. They did not ask us to “market and promote them”, their loved ones asked that we show them our support. The troops are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, Mothers and Fathers, friends – our loved ones.

Other organizations, regardless of how worthy and commendable their cause, would not see this Councillor bringing or supporting a similar resolution. Brian Kelly further asked “what do you say to those who do not like this move by the City because they are against the war?”

I reiterated what I said at City Council when I put the resolution forward – this is not a political statement. City Council is taking no position on the war. City Council IS however expressing an act of support to our citizens who have served, are serving and will be serving. In April, City Council presented plaques expressing our gratitude to the first group of reservists who returned from their mission. This is a logical extension of that support.

I am taking the time to express this information to you all as background in understanding that I am proud that our City Council and staff did not hesitate or waiver in this step to support our troops and in this “politically correct” society of today, where often common sense goes out the window, I am grateful.

Thanks again to May in particular for her work on behalf of the SSM Military Family Support Group.


Susan Myers
City Councillor Ward Two


by Brian Kelly

The city’s decision to put yellow decals and magnets supporting Canadian troops on emergency services vehicles “means a lot” to men and women serving overseas, a reservist soldier says. “When you’re in uniform, it’s kind of an unspoken thing — you’re always there to help and support each other,” said Capt. Grant Iaconis. The 49th Field Regiment member, who completed a six-and-a-half month deployment in Afghanistan in February, said the public show of support boosts morale of soldiers who are thousands of miles away from home. “It feels good to know that everyone is behind you — especially emergency services like this,” he said. “It’s one big family of people helping people, whether it be the police, fire, ambulance or the Canadian forces. We’re all in it for one purpose and that’s to help people.” The markers, with the message Support Our Troops and a Canadian flag, were put on about 40 police patrol, fire service vehicles and ambulances Thursday.
The magnets and decals, paid for with taxpayer money, cost less than $200. “We are supporting their efforts,” said Chief Lynn McCoy of Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services. “We’re thinking of them. We care about them.” The move follows a resolution passed unanimously at a July 9 city council meeting calling on the decal placement to “indicate our support for our troops.” Ward 2 Coun. Susan Myers, who moved the motion, said Canadians serving in Afghanistan are “top of mind” for her. Close friends of hers have a son serving in that country. The first-term councillor went to high school with Sally West, whose daughter, Capt. Nichola Goddard, was killed in action in 2006. Goddard’s grandparents, Dr. Michael and Kathleen West, live in Sault Ste. Marie. “That hit me very strongly,” Myers said Thursday at the main fire hall on Tancred Street. “I thought we really need to be supporting our Saultites and all Canadians.” There is no time limit on how long the decals will be on the city vehicles. “It’s totally open-ended,” said Myers. Similar decals remain on Toronto fire trucks and ambulances after a ruckus about their possible removal. They were supposed to be removed in September after a year. But in June, city council voted unanimously to keep the decals on for an undisclosed amount of time. Some Toronto residents expressed concern that the decals suggested the city supports the military’s presence in Afghanistan and not just the soldiers. Sault Ste. Marie isn’t taking a stand on the fight against the Taliban with the decals and magnets, said Myers. “This is not a political statement of the war one way or another,” she said. “It’s to support our troops serving.” Five Sault-based reservists were recognized with a plaque of appreciation by city council in April. “I thought this was the next logical step for us as a community to make a statement,” said Myers. “We support our troops. Period.” May Adshead said her son, Brandon, “is very happy” about decals being put on emergency service vehicles. The Sir James Dunn collegiate graduate, a corporal with the 49th Field Regiment, ends a six-month tour in Afghanistan in August. “It’s good to know that there is support here back home,” said Adshead. While Myers backed Canadian soldiers, she won’t support charitable groups wanting to see their decals affixed to city vehicles. “Instead of it being looked upon as a marketing opportunity to in some way promote a cause or a mandate, we initiated this as a statement on behalf of the community to support our troops,” said Myers. “They’re doing their job regardless of whether we did this or not.” The magnets and decals will be put on the sides of ambulances and fire vehicles and the rear of police cruisers to maximize exposure.


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