Veterans Salmon Fishing Derby Background
Over the past decade more than thirty thousand men and women of the Canadian Forces, have served with honour and distinction in Afghanistan. Frequently our personnel in uniform are placed in harms way in order to carry out duties Canada demands of their service, to preserve our safety and freedom.
Freedom is like the very air we breathe. You really do not think about it much unless you are not getting any!
However freedom comes at a price. Take a moment to reflect that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Canadians, are secured by the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives to protect us, and we owe them and their families, a debt of gratitude. All Canadians that served in Afghanistan have written a blank cheque payable to Canada for up to and including the ultimate sacrifice. For more than 158 Canadian Forces personnel both regular and reserve, that cheque has been cashed.
However, what is far less known is that nearly 2,000 and possibly several thousand Canadian Forces personnel have suffered injuries and wounds, horrific injuries and medical conditions that will significantly affect their functional ability for the rest of their lives, even with significant follow on medical support. Many of these service people, all ordinary Canadian citizens, placed in extraordinary circumstances, have young families who share the challenges that are endured by their loved ones. For Canadians, service in Afghanistan became this generations Korea.
Support for family members varies significantly dependent on where they live. Within the Regular Military Bases, support is often more visible and readily available as they have Veterans Helping Veterans and Military Family Resource Centers (MFRC’s) that are well funded. However, up to 25% of Canada’s contribution and casualties in Afghanistan came from the ranks of our Reserves, from units that are in the many towns and cities right across Canada. In fact, the Reserves are the military footprint in the fabric of Canadian society yet often lack the local family support systems and funding provided at most bases.
Background organization and commitment from anglers and the public developed and in January 2011 a Committee was formed, chaired by LCol Guy Smith, an Afghanistan veteran, former Commanding Officer of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, member of Bronte BIA and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 486 member. The path to the Gala’s and Annual Salmon Fishing Derby had begun.
VETERANS HAVE WRITTEN A CHEQUE TO CANADA FOR UP TO AND INCLUDING THEIR LIFE. BE GENEROUS.