Operation Husky 2013
British Columbia Chapter
British Columbia Chapter President Donald Hewson appointed Honorary Colonel
On July 24, 2012, Donald Hewson, BC Chapter President was welcomed as Honorary Colonel (HCol) of 19 Wing Comox in a ceremony held at CFB Comox. Honorary Colonels work behind the scenes and provide a connection between the community and the Canadian Forces. As a Canada Company member and Chapter President, Don has a history of working to support Canadian Forces members and their families, and his new appointment will see him attend to certain responsibilities such as fostering esprit de corps as well as developing, promoting and sustaining strong community support for the unit. Congratulations Don!
Snowbirds & Canada Company
On the low overcast morning of Saturday, April 28th, 4 members of Canada Company's British Columbia chapter made their way through the front gate of 19 Wing Comox in anticipation of a day with Canada's ambassadors of the air, the men and women of 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron also known as the Snowbirds.
At the invitation of Lieutenant Trevor Reid, the Public Affairs Officer for the base in Comox, and Captain Thomas Edelson, the Snowbirds' new Public Affairs Officer, Don Hewson, Marcello De Cotiis, Bob Thompson and Dan Whittle had the honour and pleasure of visiting with the Snowbirds during their annual work-ups in Comox prior the upcoming air show season. This year's air show schedule is dedicated to the citizens and territories of Canada's North with the team flying over 50 performances in almost 40 different locations throughout North America.
After the 1 hour practice session, Don invited members of the Snowbirds to attend dinner at his home which just happened to be located at the end of 19 Wing's main runway. At 6:30pm precisely, 6 members of the Snowbirds, including team leader Major Wayne Mott, appeared at the front door of the house with hefty appetites for what would be a grand feast. Also in attendance for dinner that night was 19 Wing's Commander, Colonel Jim Benninger as well at the Wing's Chief Warrant Officer, David Bolster along with Captain Erik O'connor and Captain Holly Brown of the CF-18 demonstration flight.
The hilight of the evening was a presentation by Major Mott of a Snowbirds Challenge Coin to Don Hewson in recognition of Canada Company's support of 431 Squadron. Earlier in the day, a Canada Company plaque was presented to Major Mott which will now be proudly displayed at the Snowbirds' home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
In 2009, a Canada Company scholarship was awarded to Scott Senecal, Son of Sergeant Charles (Chuck) Senecal who was killed in the crash of a Snowbirds' Tutor jet in Moose Jaw on October 9th, 2008. An additional scholarship was awarded in 2011 to Milann Mitchell who's Father, Captain Bryan (Mav) Mitchell was also killed in the same accident.
BC Chapter News: Soldier Wellness Program
On February 4, 2012 Canada Company BC President, Don Hewson, proudly presented a cheque for $65,000 to 39 Canadian Brigade Group Commander Colonel Bryan Gagne.
This effort kick-started a Program to support the Reservists of 39 CBG, comprised of 11 Army Reserve units and 1,500 personnel, of which approximately 300 have volunteered to serve during the Afghanistan deployments.
The program, called the BC Soldier Wellness Program, will help socialize the Reservists Soldiers with respect to their care needs, and help to address some of the challenges these Soldiers are experiencing as a result of their deployment while representing their country overseas.
We commend BC Chapter President Don Hewson for recognizing the need, and also Quebec Chapter President Steve Gregory for turning this into a national effort and joining in to support the BC Wellness Program with fundraising support.
(L to R) Canada Company members Dan Whittle, Mark Zwanski, Eric Porter; CWO Wishnicki; Canada Company BC Chapter President, Don Hewson; Colonel Bryan Gagne, Commander 39 CBG
British Columbia Chapter Receives Donation
(L to R) Brigade CWO Rob Wishnicki, Marcello De Cotiis,
Don Hewson, Colonel Bryan Gagne
After the December 2, 2011 4th Annual Amacon Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, Canada Company BC Chapter President Don Hewson was pleased to receive a cheque from Amacon in the amount of $5,000. This fourth annual Tree Lighting Celebration took place at Jack Poole Plaza in front of the Olympic Cauldron with performances by The Vancouver Children’s Choir, Christmas soloists and special guest appearances by the BC Lions along with the Felines, Bro Jake from Rock 101, and even Santa Claus himself joining in on the fun. The spotlight and beneficiaries of this event are families, especially children, so that everyone is able to enjoy the holiday season.
Up, up and away!
By Daniel Whittle
The twin seat CF-18 Hornet jet sat peacefully on the tarmac of the Abbotsford airport one morning this August as Canada Company’s own Don Hewson (British Columbia Chapter) arrived for his required training to take flight with Captain Erick O’connor of 409 Fighter Squadron the day before the famed Abbotsford International Airshow was to begin. Captain O’connor is this year’s CF-18 airshow demonstration pilot with the theme for the jet being support for military families.
Don and Captain O’connor met in June of 2010 in Cold Lake, Alberta during a Canada Company VIP tour of 4 wing during Exercise MAPLE FLAG at which time a briefing about Canada Company took place to many of the air and ground crews on the base. From their very first hand shake, you could tell Captain O’connor and Don would become very good friends.
With Don and Erick keeping in contact throughout the following months, Captain O’connor clearly understood the mission of Canada Company and the success our group was having on behalf of military families elsewhere in the Country. After meeting again at 19 Wing Comox in the Spring of 2011, Don was able to view the new paint scheme for the dedicated demonstration jet which sported a bright red upper surface with a large yellow ribbon stretching from nose to tail. The coincidence of getting to know Canada Company while being the pilot of this special aircraft to honour military families was too much for Captain O’connor to ignore and soon, Don would get “the call”. With all the required paperwork, requests and protocols now in place, Don was set to suit up, strap in and go flying…the day had arrived.
After take-off, Erick and Don flew over to Vancouver Island for a nice view of that area of British Columbia at which time Don was able to sustain a 7.4G turn. For those of you who know Don, this won’t surprise you as he has the determination and grit to endure almost anything. The highlight of flight, however, is the arrival back at Abbotsford which attained a speed of 700mph, just shy of the sound barrier.
Upon landing and shut down of the aircraft, Captain O’connor presented Don with the official coin of the CF-18 Demonstration jet along with the thanks of the entire team for Don’s work on behalf of military families and Canada Company. It was a day both Don and Erick will never forget.
Captain Erick O’connor (L) and Canada Company Member Don Hewson (R)·