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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A fitting and fun memorial

    I found this in the Canadian Forces newspaper, MAPLE LEAF, from 11 November 2009 Vol. 12, No. 37

    A fun and fitting memorial by Lesley CraigDownload article

    The little girl tugs on her mother’s sleeve. “I wanna go to the playground. Please Mommy, pleeeeeeeeeease?” Her mother sighs and puts down the book she was trying to read. She bundles her daughter into a jacket, helps her lace up her shoes and holds her hand as they walk down the street to the Corporal Albert Storm, CD, playground.

    The little girl runs for the swings, shouting, “Push me, Mommy!”, then abandons them for the slide, the monkey bars and the sand castles she has yet to build. As her excited chatter trails behind her, she becomes part of a memorial to a man she never met.

    The playground is new, built a month-and-a-half ago by the community of Crystal Beach in Fort Erie, Ont. It’s named after home town hero Cpl Storm, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2006. The project was spearheaded by the volunteer firefighters of Station #6, Fort Erie Fire Department.

    “For the last seven years at our station, we try to do things for the kids of the neighbourhood,” says District Chief Doug Atkins. Every couple of weeks in the summer, big bands play at the bandstand in Waterfront Park, and parents and grandparents drag children and grandkids down to the park for some family time. “Kids don’t really want to listen to that kind of music,” Chief Atkins acknowledges. “A couple of us got talking about this playground and how it would be nice for the kids, and one thing led to another.”

    Station #6 kicked off the fundraising campaign May 16 and in just four months had raised $65 000. “We were blown away because normally we only raise about $7 000 a year,” says Chief Atkins. “The community just embraced the whole project, the idea of the playground, the fact that it was going to be named in honour of Albert – it just struck a lot of heartstrings.”

    On the same night, the volunteer firefighters invited children to the fire hall to help design the playground. Taping pictures of play structure equipment to the walls, the firefighters gave each child two stickers and told them to place their stickers on the equipment they most wanted to play on. {interesting approach}

    On September 19, four-and-a-half months after the playground was proposed, 240 members of the community and seven of Cpl Storm’s buddies from Duke’s Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, came out to help build the play structure. Making the almost seven hour drive down from Petawawa the night before, the soldiers could spare just enough time to help build the playground before turning around for the long drive back to base.

    “I think it was a great idea and it massively exceeded my expectations,” says Cpl Shamus Green, who knew Cpl Storm for 12 years. “He was such a family guy; this is a really fitting memorial. The way it was built, it’ll be there for a really long time.”

    Cpl Storm’s family, his father, brothers and several aunts were also present at the build. “A lot of us knew his family,” Cpl Green says, “so it was great to spend the day with them.”

    As soon as the playground was finished, children from the community raced to be the first ones on it, and their interest in it hasn’t waned. “Just about every day or so, someone from the fire station’s going down to check on it and, yes, it is being used,” says Chief Atkins. “We hope they continue to enjoy it for a long time to come.”

    BRAVO ZULU to the folks at Station 6


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    Somewhere,there is a smiling NCO looking down on this.

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