Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kitchener Rangers Remember Our Troops

Rangers To Wear Commemorative Remembrance Day Jersey
Friday, November 2, 2007
7:30 pm

The 3rd Annual Remembrance Day Jersey Auction will pay tribute to the many veterans who fought battle for us all. The Rangers will be wearing a special commemorative Remembrance Day Jersey for their game on Friday, November 2, 2007 against the Erie Otters.
The special jersey to be worn once portrays the Remembrance Day theme as well as honours the 1956 K-W Dutchmen Canadian Olympic Hockey Team. The Jersey has been designed to be fully crested with Rangers shields on the shoulder and the maple leaf with a poppy centred on the chest. The Jersey is in a Rangers blue colour.
During the game a silent auction will take place. Fans may bid on any of the jerseys that are worn. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the 78th Fraser Highlanders Fort Conestoga Garrison and a number of organizations it has chosen to support as part of its mandate to remember not only the past, but to also be mindful of the present. Beneficiaries have included the KW Poppy Fund and the London Military Family Resource Centre in support of soldiers in Afghanistan.
In the past 2 years the Remembrance Day Jersey Auction has raised more than $30,000 for various beneficiaries.
We also ask that fans attending the game wear red in support of our troops and to pay tribute to our veterans.

Tickets for this special game night are available at The Aud box office, Centre In The Square, online at http://www.blogger.com/www.centre-square.com or by calling 519-578-1570.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Petition To Canada Post For A Support Our Troops Stamp

A new petition has come to fruition. It has been initiated by the same group that started the Tim Hortons for Our Troops Drive. It sent tears to my eyes and warmed my heart as it will all military families.

Bless them for thinking of the families and of our dedicated soldiers. ~m.m.
Thank you Dave Murphy! Here is it is:

This is a Petition to Canada Post Corporation to Dedicate a Stamp to Soldiers and Their Family Members. This group is about showing Support To our Soldiers and their family members at home who stand by them 100% and go through long periods of time without their wives, husbands, sons & daughters with them.

By signing the above petition you are asking Canada Post to Issue a New Stamp with a Support Our Troops Decal on it and also a salute to the family members of the Military.

By issuing this stamp, imagine the pride our soldiers will feel when they get a letter from home with a Support Our Troops Stamp on it

Lets Do This!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN: http://www.petitiononline.com/SOT/petition.html

Families are the Unsung Heroes

On Saturday evening, the prime minister spoke on the importance of soldiers' families at CFB Valcartier, near Quebec City.
"Our troops get the strength they need for the hard, dangerous work we ask them to do from the support they get back home," Harper said in a brief speech to open a fundraiser for the base's family resource centre.
"So, my job, and our government's job, is to support the families just as much as we support the troops." Prime Minister Stephen Harper today attended a fundraising event for military families at CFB Valcartier, home base of the Royal 22nd Regiment that now leads the Canadian mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The fourth annual Criée d'automne includes a dinner, silent auction and raffle that raises funds for the Valcartier Military Family Resources Center.Speaking at the dinner, Prime Minister Harper called the families of soldiers serving in Afghanistan “the unsung heroes of Canada’s mission. The strength of the support back home is one of the main reasons our troops are world-renowned for their skill, courage and professionalism.” Prime Minister Harper said. “I’ve talked to soldiers deployed overseas and I can tell you they all feel better over there, knowing their families are being taken care of back here by organizations like Military Family Resources Center. The Canadian Forces really are a family, and a family takes care of its own.”
"Thank you Prime Minister Harper!"

Harper also said Canada's international reputation has grown since it began security and reconstruction work in the volatile regions of southern Afghanistan.

Peter MacKay
In response to Anti-war protesters marching across Canada to denouncing the Afghan mission, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the very fact the demonstrations could take place Saturday indicated why Canada should be taking part in the Afghan mission.
"This is exactly the type of freedom and expression that we enjoy in this country, that we're able to demonstrate, that we are hoping to establish in a place like Afghanistan,"

The minister said the presence of Canadian troops creates security, which is directly related to promoting democracy, including freedom of expression.
"I implore people who are out in the streets and who are expressing themselves to keep in mind that were we to follow that direction (to withdraw the troops), Canada, in my view, would be stepping away from the very rights they hope to demonstrate."

Ahh the Dust..the sand!

Photo credit: Cpl Simon Duchesne
Canadian Engineers of Roto 4 in their Badger by FOB Wilson in Afghanistan.
Just moving across southern Afghanistan is no small feat. The sand has a consistency that is very close to talcum powder or perhaps dry cement. Foot soldiers are often ankle-deep in it.
Wind-blown sand hangs in the air and makes it hard to breathe. It also makes a hot and windy day seem even hotter. Military vehicles run into all sorts of problems just getting around.
I cannot imagine. Thank you to our troops for all your diligent and and dedicated hard work!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Poll in Afghanistan Opens Eyes

Upon reading the Toronto Sun today, I found this story to be of interest.

Afghan Poll Opened Eyes
Positively No Surprise to Soldiers
By Peter Worthington
The Toronto Sun

If the CBC had known that a public opinion poll it co-sponsored in Afghanistan would turn out the way it did, you can be assured the CBC wouldn't have had anything to do with it.
Conducted by Environics, the poll probes the attitude of Afghans towards Canadian troops -- both in the Kandahar region, where our guys are fighting the Taliban, and throughout the country.
Only 15% of Afghans wanted Canadian troops to leave immediately; the greater proportion of 80% wanted them to remain until the Taliban was crushed.
Among those admitting surprise in a CBC interview at the favourable opinion towards our soldiers was Janice Gross Stein, professor of conflict management in the University of Toronto's political science department and co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada on Kandahar.
The CBC and others also seem surprised that Afghan women were more positive about the future than men and appreciated the Canadians. Women were also more "negative" about the Taliban than Afghan men.
That's a surprise? Under the Taliban, women couldn't go to school; weren't allowed to be seen in public; were condemned to the burqa; could be beaten if they showed flesh; under Sharia law, adultery entailed stoning to death. In short, the Taliban, like Islam, is male oriented and male dominated.
The only ones not surprised at the poll were ... wait for it -- Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and, possibly, members of the Harper government who have been to Afghanistan and tested the mood of the country.

Further: Progress in Afghanistan

Kitchener-Waterloo's Red Rally





Join Families Of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Friday, October 26th, 2007

12:00 – 1:00pm

At the Waterloo Cenotaph

Beside Waterloo City Hall
100 Regina Street S., Waterloo ON

(On Regina Street between William and Erb)


Available to purchase: Official "Support Our Troops"

Merchandise sanctioned by the CF

BBQ provided by M&M Meat Shop

Proceeds to: Sapper Mike McTeague's Wounded Warrior Fund

~Sign a banner being sent to our Troops in Afghanistan~

Everyone is welcome!

Search your closets find something red to wear- a red hat, a t-shirt, or a red ribbon - wear something RED- or just come out and show your support!


Your hosts: Jeff Allan from 570 News and Dave Schneider from KICX FM

"Forward information/link to friends and family"
(click on "envelope" icon below)

Reference Map

I found it... a clear provincial/city map of Afghanistan. If you know of any other maps, please let me/us know!

(Click to enlarge)

This works hand in hand with my April 2, 2007 posting : Provinces of Afghanistan

These are the 34 Provinces in Afghanistan:
  1. Badakhshan-(Feyzabad)
  2. Bamyan
  3. Kunduz-(Konduz)
  4. Badghis-(Qaleh-ye Now)
  5. Laghman-(Mehtar Lam)
  6. Baghlan-(Baglan)
  7. Lowgar-(Baraki Barak)
  8. Balkh-(Mazar-e-Shariff)
  9. Nangarhar-(Jalalabad)
  10. Daikandi
  11. Nimruz-(Zaranj)
  12. Farah-(Farah)
  13. Nuristan
  14. Faryab-(Meymaneh)
  15. Oruzgan-(Tarin Kowt)
  16. Ghazni-(Ghazni)
  17. Panjshir - (Bazarak)
  18. Ghowr-(Chaghcharan)
  19. Paktia-(Gardez)
  20. Helmand-(Lashkar Gah)
  21. Paktika-(Zareh Sharan)
  22. Herat-(Herat)
  23. Parwan-(Charikar)
  24. Jowzjan-(Sheberghan)
  25. Samangan-(Aybak)
  26. Kabul-(Kabul)
  27. Sar-i Pol
  28. Kandahar-(Kandahar)
  29. Takhar-(Taloqan)
  30. Kapisa-(Mahmud-e-Raqi)
  31. Wardak-(Kowt-e-Ashrow)
  32. Khost
  33. Zabol-(Qalat)
  34. Konar-(Asadabad)

Donate Blood ...In Honour.. of Canadian Forces Personnel

Major General Herbert Petras, Chief of Reserves and Cadets, announced today that Canadian Forces members - Regular and Reserves- and their families are inviting Canadians to donate blood to the Canadian Blood Services or Hema-Quebec this November as a way of honouring the past and ongoing contributions of Canadian Forces personnel at home and abroad.In Canada, demand has been strong for blood and blood products and this past summer there were critical shortages. The Canadian Forces and their families' hope that their invitation will encourage able Canadians to attend blood clinics and improve the current blood bank situation.All blood donors attending Canadian Blood Services clinics across the country will have the opportunity to fill in an "In Honour" card recognizing Canadian troops' contribution to a better world.

Shown here: Chief of Reserves and Cadets Major- General Herbert Petras and Chair of the Board of Directors at Canadian Blood Services Dr. Verna Skanes talk with blood donor Jessica Peddle of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, during a visit to the Canadian Blood Services donation centre in Halifax on Wednesday Oct. 24, 2007.

"The annual November In Honour blood drive has been a great success in past years," said Dr. Graham Sher of Canadian Blood Services. "It provides a tangible means for Canadians to say thank you for the sacrifices made by service members every day at home and abroad." The cards will be forwarded to CF members deployed throughout the world.This fall, mobile clinics will visit Canadian Forces bases across the country so that members of the Canadian Forces, their families and their friends can do their part to respond to the increasing need for blood.Being close to the Canadian public in their everyday life, reservists can easily relate to blood donors. "Members of the Canadian Forces are volunteers who give their time to something they believe in." says Major-General Petras. " They are in the business of saving lives and keeping Canadian's safe. We are also the partners of the Canadian Blood Services. Their cause is also to save life. I urge all Canadians to participate in blood clinics across the land. After all it is a matter of making a difference and saving life."Captain Gordon Alexander (Sandy) Watson, from Halifax, N.S., knows the importance of both blood donation and the Reserves in Canada. Having been with the Reserves Forces for 19 years and having a 7-year-old boy who is a hemophiliac, the partnership to him makes a lot of sense; "Blood we all depend on it and I know, how important it is to help the Canadian Blood Services ensure the stability of the blood supply," he says.The Canadian military has a strong, historical link to the blood system. Canadians began to voluntarily donate blood to help wounded Canadian troops during World War II. This was the start of blood banking in Canada and the wartime effort showed that Canadians had both the national will and the generosity to sustain a voluntary blood system."The In Honour program is an opportunity for Canadians to show support for the members and veterans of the Canadian Forces who have always been generous donors," said Dr. Sher. "At the same time, this is an opportunity to help ensure that those across Canada battling injury and illness get the blood and blood products they need. One donation can save up to three lives."Corporal Shaun Fevens, a reservist from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, injured in Afghanistan, attended this year's launch said, "You don't realize how important blood donation is until you are the person who needs blood."To make an appointment to donate blood call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Soldiers take part in Terry Fox run in Kandahar

Well .. talk about diligence, perseverence and enthusiasm. Our soldiers participating in the Terry Fox Run at the KAF! Combatting such obstacles as the fine powdery dust of sand, the heat of the beating sun and of course their constant reminder of dangers while overseas... they persevered .. and I can say one thing.. I have nothing but pride for these troops! It just warms my heart. Read on: .
Soldiers from a variety of NATO countries take part in the Terry Fox Run.
Photo Credit: Bill Graveland/CP)

England takes part in the Terry Fox Run at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan on Sunday Oct. 21, 2007 . (Photo Credit: Bill Graveland/ CP)

Heavy military vehicles rumble down gravel roads, churning up choking clouds of dust at Kandahar Air Field .

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — There are some things that are just so Canadian that even a hot desert sun and being 11,000 kilometres away from home can't diminish it.
About 70 soldiers from a variety of NATO countries serving in Afghanistan joined the Terry Fox Run at Kandahar Air Field on Sunday, raising money for cancer research and to honour the memory of Fox, who attempted to run across Canada in his Marathon of Hope in 1979 after losing most of his right leg to cancer two years earlier.
Heavy military vehicles rumbled down gravel roads, churning up choking clouds of dust, as the participants ran along the 11-kilometre route which included a lap around the airfield's landing strip as helicopters hovered overhead and military jets took off and landed with deafening roars.
"It takes you back to being in Canada again because it is the Terry Fox run,'' said Master Petty Officer Matt O'Hara, 52, who has been in the service for 30 years and is originally from Edmonton. "It's something truly Canadian. Terry Fox was a Canadian hero.''
The run is something extremely personal for O'Hara.
"I was diagnosed two years ago with pancreatic cancer and due to cancer research that's why I'm alive today,'' he revealed. "When I first saw the numbers, it was a 98-per-cent mortality rate and I was in the two-per-cent cure rate. Today, due to research, the cure rate is about 10 per cent.''
The Terry Fox run is now held in 60 countries and it's the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.
Posters of Fox from his Marathon of Hope were placed strategically around the base. That makes it easy for even those who haven't heard of him to figure out what it is about explained Shelly Moore, one of the organizers.
"There's a lot of explanation involved, as well as to who Terry Fox is, but the image says a lot. The picture of Terry running down the road is really the quintessential Canadian picture,'' said Moore, a fitness, sport and recreational co-ordinator. "That picture is worth a thousand words.''
The Terry Fox run is one of the most popular events at the base.
"I've done this overseas,'' said BJ La Porte, a former soldier now working as a civilian at Kandahar Air Field. "This is not weird for me. Most of my Terry Fox runs have been done overseas. This is very Canadian.''
A line of tiny Canadian flags marked both the beginning and end of the run, but it wasn't a Canadian runner who crossed the line first, second or even third. That honour went to a trio of British soldiers.
Warrant Officer Tarquin Kitchen crossed the line in second place and wasn't surprised his Canadian cousins were lagging far behind.
"Of course not. You can't win your own competitions can you?'' he said with a laugh.
But at least Kitchen was aware of who Terry Fox was.
"This is my third run,'' he said. "I did a couple in Damascus. This is the harder one. The other ones were much cooler.''
It was the poster that convinced Lance Cpl. Duncan Moore, of York, England to join the run. But even he found the heat and dust a challenge.
"I was a bit knackered on the backstretch,'' he admitted as he wiped away the sweat.
For O'Hara, his ongoing battle against the deadly disease will continue for the rest of his life as he remains part of a clinical trial. He wishes things had ended differently for Fox, who died in 1981.
He said he wished Fox could have been in Kandahar to see the fruits of his labour.
"I think he would be quite impressed with what he's got started here. It's gone on for 27 years and it's amazing.''

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Heasley Park playground's a community effort

Corporals Marco Di Benedetto and Kevin Halls, from left, of the
31 Combat Engineer Regiment help get Heasley Park,
at 500 Parkside Dr., ready for its new playground last week.
Waterloo Chronicle (Sep 26, 2007)
The children living near Heasley Park will no longer have to put up with aging equipment.
Thanks to City of Waterloo staff and a group of community volunteers, the Lakeshore East park will get a new and improved playground at the end of the month.
"(The old equipment) has been very much appreciated by the kids, but I think they've probably loved it to death by now," said Benton Leong, the president of the Lakeshore East Community Association.
"It's certainly in need of refurbishment."
As well, city project manager Geri Quin said the former equipment wasn't meeting safety standards, and it needed surface replacements.
The city typically spends $50,000 annually replacing two local playgrounds.
It was Heasley Park's turn this year, however, $25,000 wasn't enough to replace the equipment and to expand it the way the community wanted, Leong said.
City staff suggested the community organization work with them to fundraise and jointly refurbish the park. The Sunnydale Community Association has also gotten involved because so many of its residents use the playground.
"Along with the city's original $25,000, we as a community have raised an additional $25,000 from some of the businesses and community members," Leong said.
The latter figure also includes a $10,000 grant from Let Them Be Kids Canada, a foundation that helps communities create partnerships and promote volunteerism through projects, such as building playgrounds.
Local businesses have backed the project, donating time, money and supplies. For instance, the neighbourhood Bank of Montreal has raised enough money through customer fundraisers to purchase a bench for the park, he said.
As well, Waterloo residents, firefighters, police, army engineers and students have all donated their time to making this playground a reality. Many will be lending a hand on Sept. 29, the day the equipment will be erected.
Its two structures -- one for kids aged two to five, and one for ages five to 12 -- will have multiple slides, climbers and landings.
In addition to installing this equipment, there will be a community event that day, complete with competitions and prizes, environmental stewardship projects for kids and a community dinner.
Leong is still looking for bands to entertain the crowd and more food for the potluck barbecue dinner, which will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"One of the things we're emphasizing is how diverse the residents of this area are. We come from all over," he said. "So I'm asking people to bring a dish that proudly reflects their family's heritage."
This is the first time the city's been involved in a community playground building project, said Quin.
"We've done lots of community projects before, but nothing like this," she said. "It's been simply marvellous. Everyone we've contacted has said yes."
It's "amazing" what can be accomplished when the community comes together to make things better, she said.
"I think this is a really good example of community stewardship."
And the end result will be a brand new and enlarged facility in this heavily populated area, near the Albert McCormick Arena.
"That was one of the reasons we picked this particular park to do this project, because we knew there were a lot of kids in the neighbourhood who would appreciate this playground," she said.
The old equipment has been dismantled and will be sent to Bosnia for kids to use there.
"Undeveloped countries don't have the same safety standards as we do," Quin said, adding Let Them Be Kids recycles Canadian playgrounds in places such as Africa and Central America.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Members of the Afghan National Army march in during the opening ceremonies for the 4th Military World Games on Sunday. Together, India and Canada covered the cost for Afghanistan's participation at these games.
Special guests at the event included the Honourable Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India. A Canadian contingent of 135 CF athletes are competing in the 4th CISM Military World Games, which is the second largest athletic competition in the world after the Olympics. Approximately 6000 athletes from 103 countries are participating.
The Games are being hosted in Mumbai and Hyderabad, India from October 14 to 21, 2007.

Friday, October 12, 2007

PM appoints panel to review Canada's options in Afghanistan

John Manley new head of an independant, non-partisan panel reviewing Canada's mission and future role in Afghanistan,

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday appointed a panel of "eminent Canadians" to recommend Canada's future role in Afghanistan, as tensions mount in Parliament over the current military mission.
"Today I am pleased to announce the formation of an independent panel of eminent Canadians who will consider our options and provide expert nonpartisan advice that will help parliamentarians make our decision (on Afghanistan)," Harper said in the foyer of the House of Commons.
The panel will be presided by John Manley, the former Liberal deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs when Canada embarked on its Afghanistan adventure in 2002.
He will be joined by former a Canadian ambassador to Washington, a former journalist and the president of a non-governmental agency.
The panelists will visit Afghanistan, before reporting in January 2008, Manley said.
The panel is tasked with evaluating "four main options for the future of our mission in Afghanistan," said Harper.
These are:
-- to continue training the Afghan army and police so that Canada can begin withdrawing its forces in February 2009;
-- to focus on reconstruction and have NATO forces from another country take over security in volatile Kandahar province;
-- shift Canadian security and reconstruction efforts to another region in Afghanistan; or,
-- withdraw Canada's military except a minimal force to protect aid workers and diplomats in February 2009, its current mandate.
"Our government wants a full, open and informed debate about our options. We also want the debate to be as nonpartisan as possible," said Harper.
However, opposition parties have threatened to topple his minority Conservative government if Harper does not signal Canada's exit from Afghanistan soon.
As casualties mount, public support for the military mission has also waned.
Some 2,500 Canadian soldiers are deployed in the war-torn nation alongside other NATO-led forces to stabilize the country amid an insurgency following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Manley, the first Canadian minister in 2002 to visit Afghanistan in more than 40 years, shortly after a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban, returned there in May 2007 on a humanitarian mission.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Parade 2007

There was a sea of red at the corner of King and University Avenue in Waterloo this day on October 8th, 2007 - The KW Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The sun shone brightly on the parade. It was easy to spot "the group" this year. For "the group" I'm referring to the ever diligent and caring Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan.
To contact the support group, email: FOCSIA@Hotmail.com

FOCSIA - Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

It was an ever moving experience. When passing the crowds, the people exploded in vigorous applause and thank you's ensued. Many standing ovations throughout King Street (it was like the wave.. a continuing tidal wave of supporters applauding, cheering and letting the soldiers know their appreciation) The families as always were close behind their sons and daughters - the troops - supporting them - standing behind them. We love them all.

It was hard not to notice (other than the gigantic turkeys and horn of plenty) - overshadowing the families was a military vehicle... Canada's own Cougar. It was brought into the region and driven by soldiers from CFB Petawawa (thank you troops!)

Dignitaries applaud the Troops and families.

A Sea of Red

Firefighters whoop it up when seeing the Vets. All heroes.

Many crowds await the troops.

Families march behind the troops - the boys-our boys.
We're so proud of them!
The soldiers assist an elder veteran who succumbed to the heat.
They cared for him and transported him via the cougar.

Cousins and Uncles.

Waterloo Region Police officers saluted.

Afghan Vets ride aboard the Cougar.

Kitchener-Conestoga's MP Harold Albrecht and Linda Fauteax (a fellow military mom and Mr Albrecht's constituency assistant) proudly display a Canadian Flag. Many thanks to you for handing out the many stickers and flags along the parade route. The children loved them!
Waterloo Crowds

Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan Families of soldiers served, serving and awaiting to deploy to Afghanistan. Friends!

Soldiers aboard the Cougar.

Afghan vets commence marching down King Street.

Our youngest supporter takes a break from marching.

Support Our Troops

An O.P.P. cruiser displays a Support Our Troops ribbon decal in the window.

Renaud from CFB Petawawa (thank you!)

Prep work

Canada's Cougar in front of WLU residence. Soon to board this vehicle were some of the Veterans having returned from their ever appreciable and dedicated mission in Afghanistan.

Soldiers have a good vantage point of King Street

Families find relief in an air conditioned comforts of a bus.

A big note of appreciation goes out to John Prno -for organization and welcomed transportation to point A. Thank you John!