BC Chapter, Donation to 4 Wing Padres Benevolent Fund
On Friday, June 3rd, 2016, BC Chapter President HCol Don Hewson led a group of BC Chapter Canada Company members to travel to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta to observe the annual Operation Maple Flag, held at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. Each year, contingents from a variety of allied militaries take part in one of the largest exercises of its kind. This year, our BC Chapter members had the pleasure of observing contingents from the US Air Force, the US Air Force Reserve, the Kentucky Air National Guard, the US Marine Corps, the Royal Air Force, and the French Air Force.After engaging during the lunch break with military members of 4 Wing, which is based at Cold Lake, Canada Company showed their appreciation for the unique opportunity and pooled their donations together to provide the 4 Wing Padres Benevolent Fund with a donation cheque for $10,000. The Benevolent Fund then uses donations like this to support members of 4 Wing and their families in times of unexpected financial need.
19 Wing Padres Benevolent Fund
HCol Donald Hewson, (right) Canada Company BC Chapter Chair, presents, Father George Helou, Captain in the RCAF, 19 Wing, with a cheque April 15, 2016.
Canada Company was proud to present a cheque for $6500 to the 19 Wing Padres Benevolent Fund. This brings Canada Company’s support to over $20,000 since 2013. This fund is used for urgent unexpected financial need for members of 19 Wing and their families, including such items as gas, ferries and meals when military members need to travel to hospital on the mainland with sick children, bringing a parent of a spouse undergoing surgery to visit during this difficult time or approximately 20 gift cards for local grocery store and other retailers during the Christmas season for families in need.
The chaplains at 19 Wing actively raise money for the Fund throughout the year, including The Beard Growing Challenge, but this donation represents a substantial jump in their abilities to provide emergency support to local military families throughout the year.
BC Chapter Update: Member Engagement Event
On Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, members of Canada Company's BC Chapter had an opportunity to hear a first-hand account of Operation Renaissance, the CAF designation for the relief efforts carried out by the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Nepal in late April and May of 2015. The presentation, which was made by Lieutenant - Colonel Ed Izatt, the Commanding Officer of the DART at the time of its deployment, provided listeners with an excellent example of the diverse capabilities the CAF possesses, and the importance of continued humanitarian support efforts around the globe.
Rescue Exercise (SAREX)
The Royal Canadian Air Force RCAF hosted the National Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) from September 14 to 19 at 19 Wing Comox. This year's annual event was organized by 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron. The week long event brings together search and rescue units - military and civilian - in challenging training scenarios that mimic real-world missions. The competition between team is designed to maintain and refine skills in parachute accuracy, emergency medical response, search procedures, communication, aircraft and equipment maintenance, as well as team spirit. This year's event included all Canadian Armed Forces SAR units, plus international participants. Several Canada Company members were pleased to take a helicopter trip to Comox to observe and show their support.
Canada Company member and BC Chapter President Don Hewson received a great honour on August 15, 2015 during the festivities surrounding the Comox Air Show when he was inducted into the Society of Honorary Snowbirds. According to the Snowbirds website, this great honour is reserved for those that “have demonstrated an unwavering, whole-hearted, selfless and enduring commitment to the team and its mission”.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds (431 Air Demonstration Squadron) is a Canadian icon comprised of serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Their pilots and technicians work as a team to bring thrilling performances to the North American public. Serving as Canadian ambassadors, the Snowbirds demonstrate the Skill, Professionalism and Teamwork inherent in the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Canadian Armed Forces.
MGen Dave Wheeler Event in Vancouver
Canada Company's BC Chapter gathered for a Membership dinner on May 13th at the beautiful Loden Hotel on Melville Street in downtown Vancouver. In addition to Canada Company members Patrick Ma, Tom Gautreau, Marcello de Cotiis, Bill Waugh, Jeff Stibbards, Marty Dohm and Chapter President Don Hewson, we were honoured to host Major-General Dave Wheeler, Commander 1st Cdn Air Division.
Vice-Admiral Norman in Calgary
On March 2nd, 2015, Canada Company hosted a member engagement event at the Calgary Petroleum Club. The keynote speaker of the evening, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, captivated the crowd with his thought-provoking discussion on Canadian Security and Defence issues. Vice-Admiral Norman’s forthcoming and insightful answers during the Q&A session left the audience with a greater understanding of the issues that Canada faces today, both domestically and abroad. Many thanks to the newly minted Canada Company Alberta Chapter president Gord Ritchie for his help in organizing this outstanding event.
Vancouver Canucks Support the Troops
WO Russ Robertson (L) and Jonathan Wall (R)
Warrant Officer Russ Robertson, Sergeant Major for the 6th Intelligence Company, was proud to be selected to attend the Canucks game on February 16, 2015 as a guest of the Canucks organization. Mr. Jonathan Wall, Director of Hockey Administration for the Vancouver Canucks, has generously donated tickets to Canada Company to be distributed to members of our Canadian Armed Forces throughout the 2014-2015 season. With two tours of Bosnia and one tour of Afghanistan under his belt, WO Robertson was thrilled to be able to share the experience with his father, Ed. Father and son cheered their team on to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Dinner at Vancouver Club - Nov 28, 2014
The British Columbia Chapter was pleased to welcome General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff, to a dinner held at the Vancouver Club on November 28, 2014. Don Hewson, BC Chapter President, welcomed Gen Lawson; Col Tom Dunne, Commander of 19 Wing Comox; Cdr Jeffrey Climenhaga, Commanding Officer of HMCS Vancouver as well as members of Canada Company and other honoured guests.
MGen Mike Day Speaks at Canada Company Event in Calgary – Nov 27, 2013
Canada Company Managing Director Peter Hart was warmly welcomed by members of the Alberta Chapter on Wed Nov 27 for an evening reception at the Petroleum Club in Calgary. Major-General D.M. DAY, OMM, CD Chief of Force Development shared some great intel on life in the military as well as the past, present and future direction of the Canadian Armed Forces. Special thanks go to Canada Company member Gordon Ritchie, Vice Chairman of RBC Capital Markets, for coordinating the event.
Chaplains' Benevolent Fund gets boost
Honorary Colonel Donald Hewson, (left) 19 Wing Comox Honorary Colonel, presents, Major Matthew Lucas, 19 Wing Chaplain, with a cheque for $10,000 to the Chaplains' Benevolent Fund in the 19 Wing headquarters building December 2, 2013.
Following on the success of the Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at the All Angels Chapel on December 1, the Chaplains' Benevolent Fund received a major boost from Canada Company. A cheque for $10,000 was presented by 19 Wing Honorary Colonel Donald Hewson on December 2, 2013 to the Benevolent Fund, which supports military families during emergencies or crises. In addition to the Canada Company donation, $1311 was raised by over 150 attendees of the service. Since then, HCol Hewson raised a further $1500.
The chaplains at 19 Wing actively raise money for the Fund throughout the year, but this donation represents a substantial jump in their abilities to provide emergency support to local military families throughout the year.
BC Chapter News: Breakfast Visit
Canada Company Founder Blake Goldring paid a visit to the BC Chapter members on July 9, 2013. Breakfast was served at the Loden Hotel in downtown Vancouver while Blake enjoyed meeting with BC members including the newest member, Tom Gautreau, who received a Canada Company coin.
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.
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
(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
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.
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!
Captain Erick O’connor (L) and Canada Company Member Don Hewson (R)
A creative writing piece 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.