Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Friday...
Are YOU wearing red today?
Support Our Troops - Wear Red on Fridays.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

PEI Employers to Declare Support to Canada's Reserve Forces

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND- Nine organizations, including six local businesses, will declare their support to Canada's Reserve Forces on Friday, May 23, 2008. The Honourable Barbara A. Hagerman, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, will preside over the ceremony where the organizations will sign "Declarations of Support". Organized by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC), the ceremony will also be attended by Mr. John Craig Eaton the National Chairman of CFLC, who will be presenting certificates of appreciation to the supportive organizations. Maj.-Gen. Dennis Tabbernor, Chief Reserves and Cadets; Mr. Robert Bateman, CFLC PEI Provincial Chair, and the Honorable Robert W.J. Ghiz, Premier of PEI will also be in attendance to show their support to PEI reservists.

Where: Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) QUEEN CHARLOTTE
210 Water Street Parkway
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
When: Friday, May 23, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
(Media are asked to arrive between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. and present
themselves to the staff inside the main entrance.)
What: Signing ceremony recognizing Prince Edward Island's commitment
to Canada's Reserve Forces.
Who: Organizations signing a Declaration of Support include:
- City of Charlottetown
- City of Summerside
- The Guardian
- CGI Group Inc.
- Charlottetown Airport Authority Inc.
- Sameday Right-O-Way
- Province of Prince Edward Island

A big HUA to the Prince Edward Island businesses!! Way to go!!!

Now that's support!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where Is the Military Display? Military Mom on a Mission- On a Quest to Find Them.

Juno Bear? Where are you?
I had the chance this weekend to seek out the displays at the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener.
My goal was to seek out the military exhibit. Understanding that it was part of the Toyota's Fanfest, I ventured downstairs to the Arena. On the tableaux was the agenda of the day - yes, the military exhibit was on the agenda along with the times 10 am - 7 pm.
Looking around I found many phenominal displays created by local primary students of the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
Continuing in my quest, I met the sculptor of the Canadian Veterans' Memorial - Timothy P. Schmalz. We had an opportunity to speak for a minute or two before he needed to return to his work.
Next to his new sculpture are a couple of motor homes on display - for sale - the cost for one of them was $288,000 by the way. (why may I ask does this have to do with the Memorial Cup? perhaps they were preparing ahead for the Sportsman Show? - not sure).
Across the arena, I spied a Veterans' booth! I must be getting warmer! There were a couple of ladies busily handing out pins and brochures. There were very helpful to my quest. To get to the military display, you needed to go outside, around the building to the otherside and down the lot a stretch. Well, I was off.
Battling cold winds, I went outside, got into my car, drove around the building to the otherside, only to be flagged down by a parking attendant asking me if my purpose was to drop someone off, if not, I was not welcome to venture up that area. I explained what my intentions were - to see the military display- that was a part of the Memorial Cup displays. I was then instructed to drive off the grounds and onto the road ajacent and perhaps there may be parking there (noting that there would be small hike involved)
The road was already full. I thought perhaps I may be able to turn onto the road that the armoury was on, (East Ave) however that road... get this... was closed! A little frustrated yet determined, I drove a few blocks away, parked the car and hiked up... my quest was almost finished. I saw the armoury ahead, and the display? It was in a field adjacent to the auditorium.. outside! There were a couple of tables (same as INSIDE the auditorium) that held information about the mission in Afghanistan, as well as lanyards, keychains, note pads, etc.

Who decided on this location?
There should have been more people/visitors to the display.
The display should have been highly accessible (both for parking and people) and visible.
The display should have been indoors - rather than the 2 motorhomes occupying space.
Why was it put outside in an empty field outside of the auditorium?

After all, the Military is very significant to the Memorial Cup. The Memorial Cup was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in 1919 as a memorial and honour of the Canadians who fought and died in the First World War. The Memorial Cup and its message of remembrance are as relevant today as they were nine decades ago. And this is the way our military is treated?
Put them in a field with only the blowing winds able to access them?
Our military should have a greater presence in the arenas and Auditorium than what was displayed. Our soldiers were put out of sight and in an inaccessible area. I will remember this when I look at the poppy on the logos advertising the cup.

So, if you are interested in visiting with our soldiers, let me help you out.
Drive onto East Ave (where it says Road Closed) and park in front of the Armoury - that is if there are any spots left. The display is in between the armoury and the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
If there are no parking spots left, then parking may be available on Stirling (going away from the Aud)

View Larger Map
Oh! The soldiers I met were very informative ; especially Richards who with vast knowledge took the time and presented each vehicle to me. Thank you Richards.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Military Band and Fireworks Display

Per Notice on Auditorium Door, please note that the Military Band and Fireworks Display has been postponed from May 17, 2008 to May 24th, 2008.
That's the Military Band and Fireworks Display will be on Saturday May 24th, 2008
Kitchener's Centennial Stadium
(adjacent to the Auditorium)
400 East Avenue, Kitchener
at 9:00 pm
Free Admission

Friday, May 16, 2008

4th Annual Yellow Ribbon Ride - CFB Borden

Yellow Ribbon Ride
For the Deployed Troops and the Families Back Home
Sunday, June 8th, 2008
Starting at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden.
(Once you arrive at the Base, simply follow the signs to the registration point.)
Registration & BBQ will be from 11:00 to 12:30.
Cost for the event : $20.00 per Rider & $5.00 per Passenger.
As in past years, all monies from the ride will go directly to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, and profits from the BBQ will go to the Military Police Blind Children's Fund.
Registration Forms: Rider or Co-Rider

Directions to CFB Borden:
Coming from the North
On hwy 400 South in Barrie take exit 96 towards ANGUS
Turn left on Dunlop (Hwy 90) and continue to Angus
In Angus take Mill Street to the front gate of CFB Borden
Once at the gate follow the signs to the event
Coming from the South
On hwy 400 North take exit 75 Hwy 89/Simcoe Rd 89 towards Cookstown
Continue on 89 to Aliston
Turn right onto King Street North (at the Dairy Queen)
Continue on King St North it turns into CR 15
Follow CR 15 to the gate on CFB Borden
Once at the gate follow the signs to the event
Hwy 400 North in Barrie exit 96B towards Angus
Continue on Dunlop (hwy 90) to Angus
In Angus take Mill Street to the front gate of CFB Borden
Once at the gate follow the signs to the event

Canadian Soldiers Wounded by Child Afghan Suicide Bomber

Unidentified Canadian soldier on patrol.

The suicide bomber who killed an Afghan soldier and wounded two Canadian soldiers Friday was a young boy. A second Afghan soldier was also injured in the attack.
The incident occurred while the soldiers were conducting a foot patrol in a village in Zhari district, just west of Kandahar City, around 10 a.m. local time.
Military sources said the boy was around 10 years old.
The sources said the bomb was possibly detonated from a distance by remote control.
The soldiers saw the child approaching. There was some suggestion that he had his arms in the air giving reason for them suspecting that it may have been detonated by someone else.
All proper procedures were followed by the soldiers.
The injured soldiers were all brought back to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.
Capt. Amber Bineau, a spokeswoman for the Canadian army battle group in Kandahar, said the two Canadians were able to "walk into the medical facility on their own."
The military does not usually release the names of injured Canadians.
Foot patrols
Canadians seem to be going back to foot patrols, demonstrating they are on the ground and in the community. But they are typically acting in a support role to the Afghan National Army soldiers, who are taking more of a leadership role in southern Afghanistan.

Bikers Everywhere Supporting our Troops

The "Bikers Everywhere Supporting our Troops" Ride in Canada
In Support of all soldiers: past, present and future.

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Start: Hespeler Legion at 26 Schofield Street Hespeler (Cambridge), ON
Registration Fees: Riders - $20.00 Passengers - $10.00

2008 Schedule of Events:
09:00 - Registration Opens
10:30 - Pre-ride safety talk
11:00 - First riders depart
14:00 - First riders begin to return, barbecue starts, cash bar opens
15:00 - Live entertainment begins
17:00 - Last riders return, closing ceremonies
18:00 - Event ends
Last year, $2,000.00 in donations was passed to the Wounded Warriors Fund!
If you would like to pre-register, click here.

Kitchener Rangers to Auction Off Jerseys - Proceeds to the Poppy Fund

On Thursday, the Kitchener Rangers unveiled the special jerseys that they will wear in the opening game against Gatineau on Friday. The jerseys* were designed to commemorate the historical significance of the military to the tournament. They will wear them once and then auction them off at CHL on EBAY with the proceeds going to the Poppy Fund.

Poppy funds are used to support veterans and their families, buy hospital equipment, support cadet groups, and provide student bursaries. The auction closes May 26-08 19:01:15 EDT.
*In conjunction with the jerseys, the players helmets will be auctioned off as well separately.

A BIG HUA to the Kitchener Rangers !!
and all the Best in the Play offs!

Canadian Forces Military Display

The MasterCard Memorial Cup will celebrate 90 years of major junior hockey excellence in Kitchener May 16 - 26th. With an impressive display of current and historic Canadian military vehicles…along with a world class fireworks display there will be something for everyone.
Hockey fans will be able to get up close and personal with such military vehicles as a 2.5-ton Gun Tractor and a 10-ton Wrecker, as well as a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, a state-of-the-art Recruiting Trailer and an army howitzer.“There will be plenty to see and do at the Canadian Forces exhibit”, says Captain Scott Costen, spokesman for 31 Canadian Brigade Group. “Some of our biggest and best vehicles will be on display, as well as one of the army’s largest weapon systems.”

Canadian Forces Military Display
The Canadian Forces Military Display will be located within Toyota Fan Fest at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium (Military Road area off East Avenue) throughout the entire Memorial Cup Championship. Juno The Bear – the Army’s official Mascot, will also be on hand to meet the public and hand out souvenirs. Members of the public will get a chance to meet CF members, learn more about careers in the military, and see some of their latest vehicles and equipment.
They will also have an opportunity to tour the local armoury, and enjoy a military band performance.
Most importantly, Memorial Cup attendees will have a chance to join today’s CF members in honouring the heroism and sacrifice of our veterans.

History of the Memorial Cup
The Canadian Forces Military Display will support the Memorial Cup, which was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in 1919 as a memorial and honour of the Canadians who fought and died in the First World War. The Memorial Cup and its message of remembrance are as relevant today as they were nine decades ago.
With the service and sacrifice of Canadian Forces (CF) members in Afghanistan, the connection between earlier generations of war veterans and current military personnel has grown stronger. This connection is revealed in many ways, including increased military participation at the Memorial Cup, and renewed emphasis on the origins of junior hockey’s national championship trophy. CF members will be active participants in this year’s Memorial Cup festivities. Our men and women in uniform will transport the Memorial Cup championship trophy to Kitchener and proudly escort it throughout the event.

Canadian Armed Forces Marching Band and World Class Fireworks
When: Saturday, May 17th, 2008 at 9 p.m.
Where: Centennial Stadium (adjacent to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium)
..............400 East Avenue, Kitchener, ON
Cost: FREE

A Canadian Armed Forces Marching Band will also provide entertainment on Saturday May 17th when Centennial Stadium (adjacent to to Kitchener Memorial Auditorium) plays host to a world-class Fireworks Display.The Fireworks Display will be produced by Whysall Fireworks of Ariss, who recently won an International Fireworks Competition in Vietnam and is also responsible for producing the annual Canada Day fireworks display at the University of Waterloo.The Fireworks Display will begin at dusk, and is open to everyone and admission is free. Be sure to come early and enjoy this spectacular evening.

Thursday's Arrival Parade and Ceremonies
The Memorial Cup – to be presented to the winner of the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship - officially arrived in Kitchener on Thursday May 15th. To celebrate the Cup’s arrival, the community was invited to attend a special ceremony planned at Civic Square at Kitchener City Hall b at 11:30 am. The Cup was delivered to City Hall by the Canadian Armed Forces in an Armoured Personnel Carrier as part of a Military Procession that featured approximately 100 Veterans and a Colour Guard.
The President of the Canadian Hockey League and Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League – David Branch - will formally presented the Memorial Cup to Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr during a ceremony that will also included the Honourable Greg Thompson, Federal Minister of Veterans Affairs as well as Steve Bienkowski and John Thompson – the Chair and General Manager respectively, of the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup Host Committee.
“It is certainly an honour for the City of Kitchener to welcome the Memorial Cup and to host one of the nation’s most prestigious junior hockey tournaments,” said Mayor Zehr. “We take great pride in celebrating the cup’s arrival and we wish the Kitchener Rangers all the best as they compete to keep it right here at home.”
Following the presentation, the public was invited to view the Memorial Cup, meet members of the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Team, and enjoy a community BBQ complete with a Memorial Cup cake and entertainment provided by the Twin City Harmonizers and Shane Guse.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canadian Military to Escort the Memorial Cup

On Thursday morning, the Memorial Cup leaving Victoria Park in Kitchener at 11:30 a.m. along a route to Kitchener's City Hall on King Street. The cup will be escorted by our soldiers on parade. Come out and support the troops during the parade. Welcome the Memorial Cup to Kitchener, ON for the CHL Playoffs.

For further information on the Memorial Cup events and Games, click on the link below:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bless Cpl Michael Starker and His Family

Thursday, May 10, 2008 Corporal Michael Starker 15 Field Ambulance
Canadian Soldier Killed and Another Injured in Afghanistan
Corporal Michael Starker, of 15 Field Ambulance, was killed today and another soldier was injured when they came under enemy fire during a patrol in the Pashmul region of the Zharey district. The soldiers were immediately evacuated by helicopter to the Canadian-led multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield, where one soldier was pronounced dead. The other soldier is in fair condition and stable. The incident occurred at about 11:45 a.m. Kandahar time. The families of both members have been notified.At the time of the incident, the soldiers, their colleagues and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were conducting a civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) patrol in the area. These patrols are part of the many ways ANSF and ISAF show their presence, interact with the local population and discuss development needs of the community.
National Defence: "This incident will not deter us from continuing our work with the Government and the people of Afghanistan. Incidents like this one prove that, along with our Afghan National Security Force partners, Canadians need to continue working to bring about peace and security in the region.These are difficult times for the families, friends and colleagues of the soldier who died in this incident. Our hearts go out to them at this time and the Canadian Forces will do it's utmost to help the next of kin of this brave Canadian."

He's Coming Home.

Statement by the Minister of National Defence
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan:"We grieve the loss of Corporal Michael Starker who died today in Afghanistan. We also hope for the prompt recovery of the soldier who was injured in the same incident and extend our sympathies to the families and friends of these brave soldiers.The soldiers were conducting a patrol with a joint civilian-military team which helps address the development needs of local Afghan communities when they were engaged by insurgents.I join with Canadians who stand proudly with our men and women of the Canadian Forces as they courageously risk their lives every day to bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan. The sacrifices of these soldiers will not be forgotten and this event will not deter us from continuing to help Afghans rebuild their country."

He's Coming Home -Our fallen soldier, Corporal Michael Gunter Starker, a member of 15 Field Ambulance, based in Edmonton, is scheduled to return home to Canada Friday, May 9, 2008. Corporal Starker was a reservist from Calgary, Alberta.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Friday, May 9, 2008, 2:00 p.m.
Present to pay their respects will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.

She's Not Alone - We Stand Beside Her - She stands straight, her head held high, one hand clutching a single, perfect rose. Dark sunglasses don't shield her eyes, a courageous gesture for someone who knows millions are watching her.
The only giveaway to Nicole Starker's unfathomable grief is her lower lip that quivers with such ferocity at times it appears as though she is murmuring to herself.
Other than this one involuntary physical response, the pretty woman widowed far too young gives an exemplary lesson in grace under unimaginable pressure.
She shows the strength of character her friends cite as one of her many positive qualities.
It must seem all too surreal on Friday, then, as she stands under a makeshift white tent, positioned at the front of a group of her and her husband's family, watching a military plane unload a flag-draped casket containing the body of Cpl. Michael Starker.
On Tuesday morning, Nicole, a publicist for E! Network National, was walking into her office at the Global TV offices in Calgary. One of her colleagues yelled out, "Have a great day, Nicole!" and she responded in kind.
She was excitedly marking down the days until she'd meet her husband Michael in Africa, the dream-of-a-lifetime trip to celebrate his upcoming leave from duty in Afghanistan.
Less than an hour later, Nicole would be escorted into the office of a colleague who was away on a business trip. The door would close, and she would get the devastating news from a military team that included a chaplain, that her paramedic-reservist husband was killed that day while on a community outreach mission.
Barely 72 hours later, she and Michael's closest loved ones are in Trenton, Ont., a community two hours east of Toronto, where the biggest employers are Quaker Oats, Nestle and Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
At noon Calgary time, the heartbreaking ritual known in military-speak as the "repatriation ceremony" for Michael's body begins.
It's a hectic scene in the newsroom, as people working on the noon show rush back and forth, and one TV monitor shows live footage of firefighters rescuing stranded workers from the top of Bankers Hall (yet another reminder of everyday heroics).
Still, it's easy to blot out all distractions thanks to the moving events unfolding live from Trenton. White-haired veterans with chests full of medals; middle-aged couples dressed head-to-toe in red and waving large Canadian flags; and moms with their tots all mingle on the other side of the flag-dotted barbed-wire fence that overlooks the drama.
Inside, a procession of military personnel wearing a wide variety of uniforms files into position as a lone bagpiper plays. Nicole stands alone, her relatives a few steps behind her, the women each holding a single rose.
A woman dressed in black steps forward and escorts Nicole to the back of the black hearse in which the casket has been gently set by the eight young, uniformed, white-gloved pallbearers. She says her goodbyes, places the rose on the casket, then turns away to weep as a man puts his right arm around her shoulder.
A chaplain gives her a hug, and she shows her courage once again, offering him a warm smile.
If there is any comfort at all to be had in a time of such great sorrow, it is that others, near and far, are feeling the loss on this day.
While I watch the live feed of the ceremony in the Global newsroom, Nicole's colleagues are viewing it on another television downstairs. Afterwards, one colleague, who had earlier agreed to make a few comments, is too overwhelmed. "It's too tough, too raw right now," he says, acknowledging that the mood among her closest work friends is one of deep sadness.
At City Hall, paramedic Brent Thorkelson stands guard beside a condolence book that is already close to full.
Thorkelson, a friend of fellow paramedic Michael Starker, lets me thumb through the book, which has page upon page of expressions from the heart: "This is a great loss to the city"; "thank you for your love of your country and your love for all mankind"; "too young and too soon."
One note jumps out from the rest: "As I said goodbye to my children this morning, I said 'Thank you, Michael,' for letting them grow up in a safer world."
It is at once a very private and public grief. While those who knew and loved Michael Starker are feeling it most, there are thousands willing to help shoulder at least some of the burden for the loss of a true hero. Valerie Fortney, The Ottawa Citizen

Onlookers pay tribute to fallen Calgary soldier Cpl. Michael Starker as the hearse carrying his body leaves CFB Trenton Friday.Onlookers pay tribute to fallen Calgary soldier Cpl. Michael Starker as the hearse carrying his body leaves CFB Trenton Friday.

Cpl. Starker was also a paramedic for the city of Calgary. Durham EMS was just one of many ambulance services to travel to Trenton on Friday to pay respects to one of their own.

Funeral of Cpl Starker - Friday, May 15th

Nicole Starker, wife of Corporal Michael Starker, a medic who was killed in Afghanistan on May 6, attends his funeral in Calgary on Friday, May 15, 2008 Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Thousands of people turned out Friday to say farewell to a paramedic and reservist killed in Afghanistan with a service that mirrored his life -- quiet and dignified.
His wife, Nicole Starker, and sister Carolyn Straub had joked with reporters earlier in the week that Cpl. Michael Starker would be embarrassed by all of the attention his death had generated.
"I think he would be laughing his a@# off right now saying, `I don't know why you guys are making such a big deal of this,' '' chuckled Straub.
"He'd be uncomfortable,'' Nicole Starker agreed. "But on the other hand, had this been one of his buddies instead of him he would have said they absolutely deserve it, every bit of attention they're getting.''
Hundreds of uniformed friends and colleagues from EMS, the Canadian Forces and police departments across Alberta turned out at the Calgary Roundup Centre to make sure Starker received the attention he deserved.
There were no eulogies in the 90-minute Catholic service, as the family decided to read the eulogies at a private service Thursday evening.
Pictures of Starker, both as a member of the Canadian Forces and as a paramedic, were placed in the hallway leading into the salon, which had a seating capacity of 3,000.
The entire event was simple -- there was no table of favourite photos or trophies. A screen at the front by the altar flipped through front page stories on his death from local newspapers.
Starker, 36, was a reservist medic with Edmonton's 15th Field Ambulance unit and a former member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment.
He was killed May 6 during an ambush west of Kandahar City in Afghanistan, becoming the 83rd soldier and 84th Canadian killed there since 2002.
Members of the 15th Field Ambulance acted as pallbearers, their heads held high and eyes straight ahead, carrying his coffin draped with the Canadian flag into the service. An insignia bearer carried Starker's headgear.
"Michael was a good guy,'' said Father Robert Rocheleau, Nicole Starker's cousin, who delivered the homily. "He was a person of love. He would want us to recognize that the things that he did was because of his desire, because of the gifts that God had shared with him.
"We can only imagine how many people's lives Michael has touched. Reaching out for them, caring for him. Each day he shared the gift of life.''
Rocheleau said he was fortunate to attend the wedding of Michael and Nicole back in 1997. He remembered when Nicole first brought him home to meet the family in Windsor, Ont., on Boxing Day.
"He was shy, he was afraid, he was uncertain and rightly so because we weren't going to let him take our Nicole without making sure he was the right guy,'' Rocheleau said with a smile. "He spent the entire day with us experiencing a lot of teasing, a lot of jokes at his expense and the third degree and he took it all in quite well. The next time he came, Michael was glad there was a new boyfriend with another cousin on the scene.''
Rocheleau said Starker spent his life working to help others and acknowledged he was not one to look for the spotlight.
"He was always wanting to be a better person. Michael enjoyed his family, his friends, his work, his colleagues. He enjoyed the opportunity to share and make our world a better place. I don't think Michael would enjoy such celebrity.
"We must also remember all of Michael's colleagues in Afghanistan today who grieve with us. We offer them our support as they continue to do the work that has been entrusted to them.''