Monday, October 27, 2008

God Bless Arielle Keyes-Oliver - October 25, 2008

It is with sadness that I announce the death of a soldier - Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver. Bless her family - the Keyes-Oliver family, her University Family in Ottawa and her military families in Petawawa, Ottawa and Guelph - Giving them strength to travel together during this difficult journey ahead.
May prayers also be with the wounded soldiers in Petawawa as well as the soldier injured in Afghanistan and their families - giving them strength together and strength in healing.
With sympathy and prayers,
Oct 25, 2008 19:59 ET
One Soldier Killed, Four Seriously Injured During Training Accident
A soldier is dead and another four are in serious condition in hospital after a training accident at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, a Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW) carrying ten soldiers rolled over in the CFB Petawawa training area during a military exercise while riding in the back of the military truck when it rolled over in the training area on the west side of Highway 17.

Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, a member of 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, was the soldier killed in the accident. Also injured in the accident were Second Lieutenant Ryan MacIntyre, Bombardier Jordan Anstey, Bombardier Frederic Koch, Bombardier Alexander Mullaly, all soldiers are members of 30th Field Regiment (RCA) a Reserve unit based in Ottawa.CFB Petawawa Fire Department, Military Police, and paramedics from the County of Renfrew responded to the accident. Base information officer Cpt. Andrew Hennessy said the injured soldiers were transported to the Pembroke Hospital for treatment. Everyone is currently described as being in stable condition.
The incident has stunned the base.
"Any loss is a shock. The Canadian Forces is a close-knit group, like a family," said Lt.-Col. Moore. "An incident like this strikes at the heart of all our members.
"Our condolences go out to the family of Gunner Keyes-Oliver for their loss." Approximately 50 members of the regiment were at CFB Petawawa for the weekend where they were conducting typical artillery and field craft training.
"Our focus right now is looking after the family of Gunner Keyes- Oliver and providing support to them which is followed by taking care of the injured,"Lt.-Col. Moore said. "All members of the regiment and leadership are pulling out all the stops to help."
While emphasizing that caring for the family of the deceased soldier as well as caring for the injured are the priority at this time, Lt.-Col. Moore did say an investigation into the incident has already begun.
A team from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) arrived in Petawawa late Saturday afternoon and is currently investigating the accident.
Following the accident, the weekend exercise was called off and the remaining members of the regiment, which had been bivouacked in the training area, were brought back to the base for a warm meal and support.
Lt.-Col. Moore said immediately after the incident, military chaplains visited the injured and the members of the unit to provide support.

The truck the soldiers were riding in was described as a Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled or MLVW. The vehicle is basically the army's standard truck. .MLVW -The Medium Logistics Wheeled Vehicle (MLVW) is the workhorse truck of the Canadian military. It is used to haul equipment, spare parts, troops and to pull artillery guns. The vehicle weighs in at roughly seven tonnes. The Canadian Forces has 2,769 of the vehicles which entered service in 1982. I found this linked story "Temporary restriction of Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW)R-00.139 22 - December 22, 2000 " to be of interest.

This is the first fatality in the base's training area in six years. On Sept. 23, 2002, Sapper Mariebeth Short, 22, a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, died after the light-armoured vehicle (LAV III) she was travelling in rolled over on the Mattawa Plains.
Previous to that, in 1999 Master Cpl. Don Lasante of Petawawa was electrocuted when the communications antennae he erected touched a live hydro line. The incident occurred during an exercise taking place near Beachburg. Four other troops were injured in the incident.

Arielle was part of the 11th Field in Guelph, ON before transferring to the 30th Royal Canadian Artillery in Ottawa where she attended Carlton University.

Carleton University Mourns a Student, a Soldier... a Friend
The halls of Keyes-Oliver's floor in residence seemed quiet, but a large tribute prominently displayed on a bulletin board spoke volumes. Floormates were able to leave messages along the edges of the board on bright pink paper or on paper ornamented with a rose, beside a note explaining it would go to Keyes-Oliver's family. One student wrote: "Our floor's not as fun without you. We will miss your smile and personality. Rest in peace." Her family, friends and peers remember Keyes-Oliver as an exceptional friend, student and soldier. "Arielle always put a smile on your face no matter what you were feeling," said Richard Carpenter, who met Arielle when he was 12 while they were both in Sea Cadets. "She was a great friend, a strong leader and a damn fine soldier."Shannon O'Connell said she met Keyes-Oliver on the flight to a cadet summer camp in Nova Scotia."She taught me everything from how to shine my boots, to lighting up a room with one smile," O'Connell said.She recalled one time at camp when Arielle was sent home sick."My whole division got up in the middle of the night to see her off," she said.Jhuntue Dion-Alexander Keith Grey met Arielle at summer camp where they were in the same gunnery division two years in a row."Most of the time she was positive and funny . . . she made everyone want to stay," he said. "The course we took was really stressful . . . She made me look forward to going back to summer camp."Grey remembered Arielle's determination in everything she did."A lot of the people that knew her from cadets are at a loss right now," Grey said. "They can't believe it's happened. She's always been the determined one keeping everyone going."Arielle had always been interested in doing something involved with the military, Grey said, whether it was being in cadets or joining the reserves. Keyes-Oliver was one of The Bytown Gunners of the 30th Field Regiment in the Royal Canadian Artillery while she was attending Carleton in her first year. Carleton President Roseann Runte wrote a letter to students Oct. 27 that said: "Arielle and the dedicated servicemen and women with whom she was traveling, and who were seriously injured, merit our respect and admiration for their commitment to Canada, their dedication and their courage." The school said grief counselors are available on campus for anyone who needs them.

Details on a memorial at Carleton have not yet been finalized.

Statement from the Keyes-Oliver Family:
" Arielle lit up the world with her smile and sense of humour. She was a wonderful daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, girlfriend, and friend to many. She was also a wonderful soldier. She was proud to be a Canadian and proud to wear the uniform. She was amazing in everything she set her goals on, from playing the drums, piano, and trumpet, being a sea cadet and gunner, to kick-boxing and horseback riding. After graduating university she planned to travel the world and work internationally. Arielle was a natural leader and was concerned with everyone she came in contact with. In groups of friends, she was always considerate that they were taken care of. Although her life was far too short, she touched the lives of many. She will be greatly missed by all. We would like to thank our family and friends for their support in our time of mourning."

The Keyes-Oliver family wishes that the Media respect their privacy during this period of deep mourning. Information concerning the funeral service will be made later as details are known.

ARIELLE KEYES-OLIVER 1989 - 2008 Passed away tragically, at CFB Petawawa on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at 19 years of age. Arielle is sadly missed by her loving parents, Diane and David; her beloved sister, Tressa; cherished grandparents, Ken and Catherine Richardson of Cambridge, Doug and Eileen Oliver of Grey County; and her special friend, Antoine Trabulsi. She will be forever remembered by her many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Arielle was born in Cambridge, graduated from KCI in Kitchener and was attending Carleton University in Ottawa. Among her many interests were music, horseback riding and kickboxing. Arielle was a Sea Cadet at No. 94 Warspite in Kitchener for five years and next month would have been her two year anniversary in the army. She attained her Gunner's Hat Badge this past summer. Arielle was involved in three regiments, the Highland Fusiliers of Cambridge, and the 11th and 30th Field Regiments of the Royal Canadian Artillery. Friends are invited to share their memories of Arielle with her family during visitation at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home , 171 King Street South, Waterloo, on Thursday, October 30, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and Friday, October 31 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. The funeral Service will be held at Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly, 395 King Street North, Waterloo on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Parkview Cemetery, Waterloo. Condolences for the family and donations to a Memorial Scholarship Fund in Arielle's name at Carleton University may be arranged by calling the funeral home, 519-745-8445 or In living memory of Arielle, a donation will be made to the Trees for Learning Program by the funeral home.

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other,

that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way

which you always used

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air

of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes

we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me,

pray for me.

Let my name be ever

the household word that it always was,

Let it be spoken without effect,

without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It it the same as it ever was,

there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind

because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,

for an interval,

omewhere very near,

Just around the corner.

All is well.

By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Condolences to the Keyes-Oliver Family
If you wish to leave condolences, please place them in the comments section and I will transfer them to the area below.

Military Mom

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, who was killed yesterday in a training accident in Petawawa, Ontario. On behalf of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, I would like to offer our utmost sympathies to her family and friends during this very difficult time. I would also like to wish a quick recovery to the four other Canadian soldiers injured in the accident. Our thoughts are with you.Canada and the Canadian Forces have lost a bright, young and talented soldier. Her loss is a tragedy and she will be missed."
Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of National Defence

"My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I were deeply saddened to learn of the accident which claimed the life of Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, who was stationed with the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Our thoughts are also with the four others injured in this accident, as well as with the soldier injured in Afghanistan over the weekend.
The dedication of our Canadian Forces knows no limits, and it is now, as we come together to grieve this loss, that we can attest to it. Gunner Keyes-Oliver devoted her life in service of this country and today I join with all Canadians in supporting her family, friends and colleagues as they mourn her passing."
Michaelle Jean,
Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada


"Any day we lose one of our Canadian soldiers either overseas or in Canada is a sad day. "


"Prayers to this family!
Airman Mom

"My husband, and several of our friends knew her...they trained her. They will be attending the funeral on Saturday. Rest in Peace Gunner."


"As the mother of three daughters, I can only imagine the loss that the Keyes-Oliver family is experiencing. My heart goes out to all of you and all of Arielle's friends and coworkers, as well. She sounds like an incredible young woman and she will be missed, I am sure."

Lana Keon Carleton University Staff


"As the mother of a soldier, I cannot imagine the heartbreak Arielle's family and friends are experiencing. My prayers go out to you. Your inspiring daughter will not be forgotten."



"Arielle...30th field just isn't the same without you around. We all love and miss you so very much. Your time at the unit was short but we are filled with so many great memories from such a beautiful, talented, determined and friendly soldier. May you find rest up there in heaven. Arielle...End of Mission, Stand Easy."



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Veterans' 5 Km Walk and Run
What: Veterans' Walk and Run, in support of the Sunnybrook Foundation, Veterans' Grant-a-Wish-Fund
When: November 9th 2008, 1pm
Where: Wilket Creek Park (Leslie, North of Eglington)
Who: Everyone welcome!
This is a great event for friends and families to spend the afternoon outdoors supporting a great cause.
Cost: $10.00 per person
Register by filling out the registration form and emailing it to
Download PDF Flyer

Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre is home to the largest Veterans’ care
facility in Canada. The facility offers long term
and complex hospital care for 500 veterans from
the Second World War and the Korean War.
The Sunnybrook Foundation’s Veterans’
Grant a Wish Fund grants wishes for these
Veterans’ throughout the year. Wishes cost
between $100 and $500, but are priceless
experiences for the Veterans’ and their families.

Thanks Jennifer for the information! Let's get walking!! (and running!) It's an excellent cause!

The other day, I went to my neighbourhood Canada Post Outlet to send a care package off to my son (and his section) With effort, I got the 1st parcel onto the counter and advised them I had one more in the car. When I returned with the second one, my fav. Canada Post manager awaited my return with a big smile. He said to me... "it's starting again soon! Canada Post will be offering free postage to families of soldiers in a few days... Can it wait?"
I looked at him. I looked at the parcels adorned with pumpkin stickers and black cats and said, "No D., these ones have to go now... but you know me.. I'll be back." He said, "And I know it."
I paid for my parcels, patted each with a kiss.. then I turned to go shopping.

Effective October 20th, 2008, Canada Post will start providing free delivery of letters and parcels from family and friends to Canadian troops deployed overseas until the start of 2009.This free delivery offer extends to family and friends of the deployed troops serving overseas. They have to be posted to certain addresses only. (check with your local post office for qualification)

We strongly support our women and men in uniform, and we welcome this very positive initiative to help our troops overseas remain connected with their loved ones in Canada. I am thrilled that the Canada Post has decided to undertake this initiative, and I hope that many Canadian families will take advantage of this opportunity.

To ensure the proper postage, customs declaration and addressing information are used, the letters and parcels need to be sent from one of Canada Post's more than 6,600 full service retail outlets across the country - letters dropped in regular street letter boxes will not qualify for free delivery. They will then be forwarded to Canadian Forces Bases. Once delivered to the military bases, the Department of National Defense will take charge of the parcels and letters and ensure their delivery overseas. All mail must be addressed to a specific soldier, including rank and mission information.
A BIG HUA for Canada Post!!

Voter Turnout of Soldiers in Afghanistan Far Exceeds That in Canada

O.k.. someone explain this to me. Now I know that my son is over there and could possibly be intrumental in making sure troops vote (as some know), however that does not explain the apathy here. It truly makes me shake my head. Again I say how proud I am of our troops!

Voter turnout in Canada 59%
Voter turnout in Afghanistan (our troops, our soldiers in the fields, outside the wire,) 84%

Soldiers in Afghanistan Find Time to Vote per Montreal Gazette
Advance poll. Turnout far exceeds national average

The work day all but over yesterday, Bombardier Hollie Speers did what a lot of Canadians are thinking about these days: she voted in an advance poll.
Unlike the average voter, though, Speers cast her ballot with an assault rifle slung over her shoulder at a polling booth deep in Taliban country.
She was part of a Herculean effort to ensure that hundreds of Canadian troops in Afghanistan get a chance to exercise their democratic franchise, between firefights and reconstruction projects.

So far, the project has been a surprising success. The 75-per-cent poll turnout at Speers's forward operating base west of Kandahar city far exceeds the usual national average.
"I felt like, 'How could they not (set up a poll)?' " said the soldier, who helps operate a 155mm artillery gun. "It's a big part of why we're here, so how could they take it away from us?" Elections Canada sent ballots for all of the 2,500 or so Canadian service people stationed in Afghanistan. About a third of them had to be shipped out to the various outposts scattered through the most volatile parts of Kandahar province. Some were even transported by helicopter to the bases.
Capt. Chris Reeves, second-in-command at Speers's base and its designated deputy returning officer, said he had just got back from a harrowing patrol a few weeks ago - where he and his men came under fire from insurgents - to find a package addressed to him from Elections Canada.
It explained, among other points, that he was to allow representatives of the political parties to observe the polling if they applied. As it turned out, "none of the parties showed up," Capt. Reeves said with a grin, as shots rang out from a nearby rifle range.
Soldiers find their home riding in a booklet provided by Elections Canada, choose from a list of candidates for each riding and place their marked ballots in a sealed envelope, which is then sent off to Ottawa.
Reeves said the exercise has served as an unofficial lesson in democracy for the interpreters and other Afghan workers on the base, many of whom asked Capt. Reeves what all the fuss was about.
Some Canadian soldiers told him it was the first time they had voted, he said.
The officer was not alone in linking the election to the Afghanistan mission, partly intended to prevent a return of the anti-democratic Taliban.
"I feel it's my duty to vote," said Master Cpl. David Ritchie, an infantryman with the Royal Canadian Regiment's third battalion.
He said he has kept up to date with the campaign via Canadian TV beamed to a television in the base's mess.
"I'm a soldier and I'm a citizen," said Bombardier Ian Scott, 22, explaining why he felt it important to cast a ballot.
The only troops turned away by Capt. Reeves were two Americans who are here to train Afghan police. They thought they could cast a ballot in the U.S. presidential election at his polling station.

If You Didn't Vote, Shame on You
The Ottawa Citizen Published: Friday, October 17, 2008
Shame on all those eligible voters who did not exercise their democratic right to elect a new government on Oct. 14. Only 59 per cent exercised their right. Watching television interviews just before the election, it was hurtful to view apathetic Canadians, young people in particular, explain away with shallow excuses why they did not intend to vote.
Our right to vote in a democratic process has been bought with the blood and agony of thousands of young Canadians who have fought and died in foreign lands in the last 100 years. And the fight continues with Canadian soldiers dying in Afghanistan in defence of the democratic principles which we accept without thought. In my opinion, those who did not vote have demeaned our military and government personnel who continue to operate under the harshest imaginable conditions in Afghanistan. Hang your heads in shame.
Al Jones

Hey Troops!! ... Stephen Harper has been re-elected as your Prime Minister.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Giving Thanks to Our Troops

As you can see the time I'm writing this note.. I'm not sleeping. I'm thinking of our troops overseas.

As we sit down with family during this Thanksgiving Holiday, let us remember our soldiers in the fields - as they eat their rations in the dust swept deserts, eating from their cardboard plates. To them I wish a peaceful Thanksgiving Day Holiday.

To our soldiers:

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Godspeed! We think of you always and are THANKFUL for YOU.

As before, our family will forgo the fixings at the dining table as we will have our turkey dinner when our son comes home - with him. Happy Thanksgiving Day Son. We love you! Gido says "Hi to my Grandson.. I'm thinking about you and praying for you."

Join Military Families At Kitchener Waterloo's Thankgsiving Day Parade

Are you a family member of a soldier? Would you like to show your support and thanks to our soldiers on Thanksgiving Day? Join other family members of our soldiers in marching in the KW Thanksgiving Day Parade. Look for the sea of red between Central and University Ave on King Street in Waterloo between 8 and 8:30 am. Monday, October 13th, 2008.

One criteria.... you MUST wear RED.
If you can't join us, but are on the parade route.. let them know you're there!
Shout out a big HUA!!

.. and Panic Begins

The other evening while I was sitting at home doing some sewing, my husband came in the house from work in a panic. "Did you hear anything?" he asked with desperation in his voice.
Confused and concerned, I tried calming him down before asking him what he was talking about.
"A soldier was injured.. it was on the news today... a Canadian Soldier." I felt the blood drain from my face. I know many people will tell me "No news is good news." however, in my case this is not true - however rare it is. (only my son and I know why)
So through my husband's instructions, I turned to the news channel. It was not there. He said it was on the radio all day. Looking at him, I saw how much he cares about our boy. The worry in his face.. the intensity of his eyes. Although I was feeling ill inside.. this was a time to comfort him and we continue to pray..

...We pray for the injured soldier and the soldier's family. Give our soldier the strength for a full recovery and his family the stength and love and our support.

The protocol prevents the release the names of our injured soldiers. This is held in confidence.

Canadian soldier injured in Afghanistan
Canwest News ServicePublished: Wednesday, October 08, 2008
KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan - One Canadian soldier was injured Tuesday when he was struck by insurgent small arms fire about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City, according to Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Alain Blondin.
The injured Canadian soldier was evacuated by helicopter to Kandahar Airfield, Blondin said in a statement. The soldier is in serious but stable condition.
The identity of the soldier will not be released.

This gives me an opportunity to pass on some IMPORTANT words of advise...
If you are a family member of a deployed soldier - have your passport prepared and updated.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Advance Polls Open for Soldiers in Kandahar

Capt. Chris Reeves, seated at left, assists a soldier at a remote forward operating base in Afghanistan cast an advance ballot Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008 for the Oct. 14 federal election. Election day for most voters is Oct. 14, but Canadians soldiers in Afghanistan have already started to cast their ballots. Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Our soldiers are VOTING!
Advance voting is now underway way at Kandahar Air Field and at forwarding operating bases in the country.
A military elections officer said there have been some challenges in getting ballots to soldiers in some of Afghanistan's more remote locations. But he noted that no Canadian soldier will be denied the right to vote. (whew... my son really was proactive in our family and circle of friends when it came time to vote. EVERYONE had to vote. Although he MAY have given strong suggestions to which party to vote for - a party he had worked closely with)
Soldiers and Canadian civilians attached to military operations in Afghanistan will be able to cast their ballots -- for a candidate in his or her home riding -- until Oct. 8.
One soldier said the political parties' positions on Afghanistan were paramount in his voting process.
"The party that's going to support me the most while I'm over here is a big concern for me ... that's kind of the way I voted this year," Cpl. Dave MacDonald said.
Last March, Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion to extend the military mission in Afghanistan to 2011.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said last month that Canada's military commitment in the country will end at that time.
The Liberals have also said the country's military focus in Afghanistan should end in 2011 and they had supported the Tories in the spring to extend the mission. The NDP had voted against extension.
More than 2,500 Canadian soldiers are based in Afghanistan.

Red Friday Rally - October 24th in Waterloo

It's a Red Friday Rally!

Come out, wear red, bring a flag, purchase a candle
Friday, October 24th, 2008


7:00 pm


Waterloo Cenotaph (beside Waterloo City Hall)
100 Regina Street, Waterloo (see map below)

Proceeds from the Charity BBQ (sponsored by M&M meat shop) will go to The Poppy Fund

MC - Jeff Allen from 570 CHYM

Canadian Forces endorsed Support Our Troops Merchandise will be available for sale.

Event Co-ordinated by: Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Let the pride in our soldiers SHINE as we Support Our Troops.

Outreach Support in Cambridge!

There is now an Outreach Support Coordinator for London Military Resource Centre at the Cambridge site! This is BIG! Here you can bring your care packages, purchase support merchandise or a place to come for support. A BIG welcome to Donna Pickering (Outreach Community Support Coordinator)

Families of soldiers in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph areas are invited to a

"Meet and Greet"
sponsored by LMFRC
Col. J.A. McIntosh Armoury,
1 Valour Place, Cambridge
(beside the Ainslie St. Bus depot)
Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 7 p.m

View Larger Map
Please RSVP to either your support group secretaries or drop me a line and I can forward it on for you. They would just like to know numbers to expect for that evening.