Happy 50th to our flag

Happy 50th to our flag
Our flag turns 50 today!
Our flag turns 50 today!

Our flag turns 50 today Canada, our flag without a doubt is our most important symbol of our Country and the most beautiful flag in the world.

We would like to hear from all Canadians what the flag means to you as the symbol of our great Country, please share your thoughts with us.

Sergeant Mark Salesse,A brother to all

By Captain Bettina McCulloch-Drake

He was a literal giant among men. Sergeant Mark Salesse had a physical presence that made people notice him, but it was his natural tendency to reach out and help others that made him a person others could call a brother or a friend.

Last seen alive by three of his search and rescue brethren from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sergeant Salesse, 44 years old, was in his element on Thursday, February 5, 2015, before an avalanche swept him away, leaving him buried in the snows covering Polar Circus in Banff National Park, Alberta. Initial search efforts by his climbing partner immediately after the avalanche, and subsequent searches by Parks Canada visitor safety specialists, were made more difficult by poor weather conditions that increased the risk of more avalanches. Finally, on Wednesday, February 11, Sergeant Salesse’s remains were recovered from the treacherous terrain.

“Our consolation is that Mark has died doing what he loved most, in the majestic mountains that so beckoned him. He chose his final resting place. He is at peace,” said his mother, Liz Quinn.

Originally from Bathurst, New Brunswick, where his father Maurice still resides, Mark Salesse joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the fall of 1989 at the age of 18 as a member of the Governor General Foot Guards, a Primary Reserve infantry unit in Ottawa, Ontario. After serving with the Foot Guards for a year, he moved to British Columbia and joined the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), a Reserve Force armoured reconnaissance unit in Vancouver, British Columbia.

His love of outdoor sports and physical challenge lent themselves well to life in British Columbia. With the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at his doorstep, Sergeant Salesse pursued his interests in mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, and SCUBA diving. Encouraged by his training in the Canadian Army, parachuting was quickly added to his active way of life.

Deciding to return to the infantry after nearly nine years in the with the armoured corps, Sergeant Salesse transferred to the Regular Force and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was as a member of 2 PPCLI that Sergeant Salesse’s ability to adapt quickly to changing situations, as well as his professionalism and his willingness to help others, became more evident. Receiving a Land Force Western Area Commander’s Commendation for his service on Operation Prudence, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic, from October 1998 to January 1999, he was noted as a role model and a team builder.

He “volunteered to work extremely long and arduous shifts as the contingent driver so that he could interact with soldiers and civilians from other contingents,” wrote the commander who recommended him for the commendation. “He was well respected by his superiors and by leaders from the other contingents. Through his tireless energy and good-mannered approach to the mission he was able to project a highly professional image of what a Canadian soldier should be to the soldiers of other nations.”

Sergeant Salesse went on to serve overseas again, but this time with the NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operation Palladium. He served with the mission on two separate tours, for which he was awarded with the NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, and the Non-Article 5 NATO Medal for Operations in the Balkans.

Building on his experiences in the Canadian Army, Sergeant Salesse decided to apply to become a search and rescue (SAR) technician. Recruiting only from within the Canadian Armed Forces, the SAR technician occupation is highly competitive; out of the dozens of applicants who are selected to attend a two-week pre-selection course in February in Jarvis Lake, Alberta, no more than 16 are chosen to attend the 11-month training course at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR) in Comox, British Columbia.

Sergeant Salesse’s exemplary service record, combined with convincing recommendations from his chain of command at 2 PPCLI, his high level of fitness, and his experience in mountaineering, ice/rock climbing, SCUBA diving and parachuting, made him an ideal candidate for the specialist trade.

Transferring to the Royal Canadian Air Force in June 2004, Sergeant Salesse began his SAR technician training in earnest in August. His previous experience with the Canadian Army prepared him for various aspects of his SAR training, including winter operations and mountain operations. However, it was his ability to motivate and inspire others to accomplish tasks as a team when faced with challenging circumstances that really stood out in the minds of his instructors.

Adapting quickly to the demands of the SAR technician occupation, Sergeant Salesse successfully graduated from CFSSAR. Further training as a diver, as a primary care paramedic, and as a SAR technician supervisor followed over the years.

A known leader, this giant among men also served with his brethren at 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia; 444 Combat Support Squadron at 5 Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador; and 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Many thanks to:

Karen Johnstone

Internet and Social Media / Internet et médias sociaux

Director Air Force Public Affairs 4 / Directeur affaires publiques de la Force aérienne 4

New Ferry in Halifax to be named in honour of Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake

Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake

Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake

After two weeks, 11,000 votes and six finalists, Halifax Transit’s new ferry has been named after a Canadian sailor.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake was the first Canadian sailor to be killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.

Blake, 37, a married father of two, was killed by an explosive device on May 3 2010.

He was a member of Task Force-1-10.

He was part of an elite navy group based at the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic in Halifax that specializes in neutralizing bombs underwater and on land.

More than 500 names were submitted in the fall during the first phase of the ferry-naming contest. A selection committee narrowed those down to six finalists for voting consideration by residents.

Blake’s widow, Priscilla, said she’s excited and proud that his name will grace the new vessel.

“I felt proud of him when he was alive, but I still always of course feel so proud when something like this happens,” she said. “It’s so amazing that people are still remembering Craig because it’s almost been five years. It’s nice to know that his memory is still alive and he’s still in everyone’s thoughts.”

She said she was a bit surprised that her husband won, since he was up against some tough competition. The other shortlisted names included Vincent Coleman, a dispatcher who stopped passenger trains from entering the city just moments before the Halifax Explosion; former mayor and MLA Walter Fitzgerald; volunteer and Pier 21 Society founder Ruth Goldbloom; social activist Raymond Taavel and poet Maxine Tynes.

“There were so many great people on the list that it was pretty tough to choose, I think, for most people,” Priscilla said.

Count her son among those who faced a difficult decision. Priscilla said when she read the list of candidates to her 10-year-old son, Tie, he was keen on Coleman.

“I was telling Tie who he was and Tie goes, ‘Oh, actually, I might vote for him.’

“I’m pretty sure he voted for his dad, but he might have voted for Vincent Coleman. He really liked the heritage commercial, I guess,” she said, laughing.

Halifax Transit will submit the vessel name, Craig Blake, to Transport Canada for approval as the name of the newest harbour ferry.

The passenger ferry will replace one of the existing vessels and is set to go into service this summer.

A celebration of the new ferry will take place once the boat arrives.

The resident who submitted the winning name as part of the contest will receive a Halifax Transit MetroPass valid for one year of free travel on conventional buses and ferries.

This most recent ferry-naming contest follows one launched in late 2013, which resulted in the first ferry added to the fleet in over 20 years being named Christopher Stannix.

Stannix was a 24-year-old Cole Harbour soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in April 2007.

We were honoured to be in Simcoe this past Remembrance Day to be part of the unveiling of a new plaque in his honour on the Bell Tower there and to meet his mother and family members.

Files from the Herald News, and The Canadian Heroes Foundation.

Lets help clear our buried fire hydrants

Please adopt a fire hydrant in your neighbourhood
Please adopt a fire hydrant in your neighbourhood
Please adopt a fire hydrant in your neighbourhood

Across Canada, day by day our problem with buried fire hydrants is getting worse by the minute.

We are asking all Canadians to help us spread the message across Canada to start taking notice of our fire hydrants that are buried under snow, and lets get them cleared of snow so that our fire fighters will have easy access to them when needed.

It is easy to adopt a hydrant,  find one near your home, in your neighbourhood, or business area that is in need of clearing and simply go and clear the snow away.

If you would like a poster made up that you can share for your city just let us know and we will design one for you that you can use.

Please share this picture as much as you can, use the hastag #adoptahydrant as well.

Remember clearing a hydrant might just save your own life.


The Toronto Golf Show

We will be exhibiting at the Toronto Golf Show this year, Feb 20,21,21.

Anyone that wants to volunteer, please let us know this will be a 3 day packed house at the International Centre in Toronto.

We expect 20,000 people walking by our booth, we will have one of our memorial vehicles inside along with a snowbird exhibit and our booth, t-shirts and our usual swag will be available as well to purchase, stop by and say hello!


RIP Sgt. Salesse

RIP Sgt. Salesse
RIP Sgt. Salesse
RIP Sgt. Salesse

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. The parents of a missing search-and-rescue technician buried in deep snow on a mountain in Alberta say he died doing what he loved most.

Sgt. Mark Salesse was training with others when an avalanche swept him off the Polar Circus ice-climbing route in Banff National Park on Thursday.

Salesse’s mother, Liz Quinn, and her husband, Robert, say in a statement that military officials have updated them on the recovery mission.

They say they’ve been told that their son is beneath at least 4 ½ metres of snow.

Crews are planning to try again today to reach Salesse after having to call off a short search on Monday due to the threat of further avalanches.

Salesse’s parents say if his body is not found in the next week, the search will resume in the spring.

“They will continue searching for Mark and bring our beautiful loving son home to us,” they said in their statement Tuesday.

“Our consolation is that Mark has died doing what he loved most, in the majestic mountains that so beckoned him. He chose his final resting place. He is at peace.”

Parks Canada has said that additional avalanches since Thursday — both natural and ones triggered to improve safety — have fallen on the area where Salesse, 44, is believed to be buried.

Salesse, who was based at CFB Winnipeg, was swept off a ledge by an avalanche when weather conditions changed quickly during a military exercise.

It’s believed he fell about 60 meters to a lower shelf and was covered.

More slides swept him further into a ravine bowl. Parks Canada had to trigger another avalanche to secure the area for the rescue teams.

“This, unfortunately but necessary for safety, produced a further several feet of packed snow on top of where Mark is located,” said his parents, who live in Moncton, N.B.

A spokesman for Parks Canada has said Salesse wasn’t wearing an avalanche transceiver, a device that allows rescuers to hone in on a signal and locate buried victims.

That means searchers have been relying on dogs to try to pick up a scent.

The Canadian Press