Fight fear. Fight distress. Fight chaos. Fight with the Canadian Armed Forces.
Those words are part of a televised advertisement for the recruitment of young Canadians to join this country’s armed forces. Most of us have seen the commercial with live footage of our troops in action. The video strikes home the importance and danger associated with being a soldier and makes you realize just how brave these people really are.
While many of our soldiers are stationed in different parts of the world, the largest number is currently deployed in Afghanistan and many of them are Albertans.
Like the vast majority of Canadians, I am quite proud of the job our soldiers are doing in a foreign country. Several of our soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and security by giving their lives in the fight against terrorism. At the time of this writing, seventy-seven Canadian troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001.
I’d never given much thought before about a soldier’s downtime in a foreign country—the time a soldier has to himself when his patrol or mission is complete. But when Master Corporal, Sean MacIntyre held up that copy of Alberta Outdoorsmen and had his photo taken in what looks to be some very harsh conditions, I felt extremely honoured and still am to this day. I also then realized that these men and women were very grateful to have something to read that brought them back home, at least for a little while.
|Master Corporal, Sean MacIntyre holds up a copy of the Alberta Outdoorsmen in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Sean MacIntyre wrote in a letter to us:
Dear Alberta Outdoorsmen,
I am currently serving in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces. This past Christmas my wife Allison gave me a subscription to AO and has been mailing the monthly issues to me while I’ve been deployed. I just want to tell you how much me and the rest of the Alberta-boys out here have been enjoying your magazine. During our downtime it offers a nice “escape” back home for awhile.
God willing, I should be back home just in time for hunting season.
We are happy to report that Sean made it home for hunting season.
After Sean’s letter was published a reader called us and paid for a one-year extension of Sean’s subscription. We, in turn, sent several copies of the magazine to be distributed to our troops in Afghanistan.
And recently, we had a wonderful story published in our Reader’s Section written by William Penner, who had lost his son-in-law, Master Corporal, Timothy Wilson, when he was killed while on patrol in Kandahar. The story was titled “Bitter Sweet Moose” and dedicated to Timothy by his hunting partner and father-in-law, William.
|Master Corporal, Timothy Wilson, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, was killed while on patrol outside of Kandahar.
That story touched off a thread on the Alberta Outdoorsmen Message Board by a member who calls himself Duk Dog. He suggested that members of the message board should purchase subscriptions to have sent to our boys overseas.
To purchase a “military subscription” please call 780-413-0331.
I am happy to report that to date, 87 subscriptions have been purchased at a reduced rate of $20 by outdoorsmen and women for our soldiers in Afghanistan. With information provided by Chief Warrant Officer, Randy Inberg (known as “ehntr” on the message board) these magazines are sent to Ontario to the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency, who provides deployed Canadian units with logistical support.
Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by Captain Adam Thomson, Public Affairs Officer of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, who was sending us a couple short stories written by soldiers in Afghanistan. Warrant Officer, Rob Clarke’s story can be found on page 24.
What has made this possible is the support given by members of the Alberta Outdoorsmen Message Board. In particular, Jamie Hunt. Jamie is the driving force behind the contributions of the Hunt Group, a real estate company in Calgary whose motto is, “If you’re doing it for the money... you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”
In a challenge, the Hunt Group matched the first 25 subscriptions purchased by message board users. But for them, it’s about one thing and one thing only—our soldiers.
“Most important is our troops,” said Jamie Hunt. “What they are doing is very important and necessary. We can only hope this small effort brings a bit of home to what I am sure is lonely place. It’s the least we could do. We all owe them so much.”
The Sawridge Inns and Conference Centres have also jumped to the forefront. Known for their support to the outdoor community by providing discounted rates to hunters and anglers, their purchase of 20 subscriptions proves they are leaders in the hospitality field and concerned for our troops.
“We feel privileged to be part of this wonderful initiative and are extremely proud of the work done by our troops world wide, and particularly in Afghanistan. Their assignments are daunting and extremely dangerous. Yet, our military always manage to get the job done whilst earning the respect of the entire world. That is no small achievement,” said John MacNutt, Chief Executive Officer for The Sawridge Group of Companies. “Our pride in their accomplishments is only outdone by their relentless efforts to render our world a better place to live.
“We are delighted to bring a glimpse of Alberta to our troops, especially when so far away from home. It is indeed a small and humble token of our appreciation for a job well done.”
With 2500 soldiers in Afghanistan my hope is that we can reach 200 subscriptions and I am now calling on Alberta Outdoorsmen readers to do their part and bring a small piece of home to our boys overseas.
According to Chief Warrant Officer, Randy Inberg, “The magazines won’t be going to individual soldiers. They will be available to all at a welfare centre drop-in or other distribution decided by welfare... maybe even pushed to Kabul. It’s like going to the doctor or dentist and spying a hunting mag on the table... how cool is that! Potentially, the whole camp will have access to them. These magazines will be well-thumbed.”
I can’t think of a more worthy cause than providing some enjoyment to the true heroes of this country—our Canadian Forces.
For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.