The 17-year-old was yesterday one of the first three recipients of a new scholarship fund created by the country's business elite to help assist the kids of Canadian soldiers killed on duty.
Naismith's dad, Capt. Kevin Naismith, died in May 2003 when his CF-18 fighter jet crashed in northern Alberta.
Despite the tragedy that befell his father, the younger Naismith said he wants to follow in his father's footsteps by enlisting in the Air Force after he completes his physics undergrad program at the University of Saskatchewan.
"I love flying," said Naismith, who lives with his mom Belinda in Moose Jaw. "I was in Air Cadets when I was in my young teens. I flew with my dad in the Twin Otter. I got hooked and I just love flying. I can't live without doing anything else, really."
Called the Canada Company Scholarship Fund, the fund was spearheaded by AGF Management CEO Blake Goldring, an army colonel in the reserves. Since its launch in October the fund has amassed $1.8 million in donations.
Yesterday's ceremony was held at the Royal Military Institute on University Ave., with each of the three students receiving a cheque for $4,000. The students will continue to receive $4,000 a year for the duration of their post-secondary education.
Myriam Mercier, 17, of Quebec City, was also on hand to receive her scholarship yesterday. Mercier's father, Master Warrant Officer Mario Mercier, was killed this past Aug. 22 in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded near the light-armoured vehicle he was travelling in.
A third teen, Michel Girouard, 17, currently a student at the Royal Military College in Kingston, couldn't attend the ceremony yesterday, so his mom Jacqueline accepted the scholarship on his behalf. Chief Warrant Officer Robert Girouard was killed by a suicide bomber who drove his car into a military convoy outside of Kandahar in November 2006.