‘It’s just great to see the guys’

Na­tional Peace­keep­ers Day brings to­gether old friends in Syd­ney

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY CHRIS­TIAN ROACH

Cape Breton peace­keep­ers spent Wed­nes­day re­flect­ing on their time of ser­vice, friend­ships and mem­bers they have lost through the years.

A cer­e­mony for Na­tional Peace­keep­ers Day paid homage to the men and woman who have served with Cana­dian Peace­keep­ers through­out the years.

The cer­e­mony was led by mem­bers of the Ma­jor Gen­eral Lewis MacKen­zie Chap­ter of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Veterans in United Na­tions Peace­keep­ing.

“It’s all about hon­our­ing the peace­keep­ers,” said the chap­ter pres­i­dent Jack Grif­fin, who has served more tha 30 years. “This is great for us to just all get to­gether.”

Grif­fin joined the Ma­jor Gen­eral Lewis Macken­zie Chap­ter 16 years ago and said help­ing oth­ers was his pas­sion.

“I love ev­ery bit of it,” said Grif­fin.

Another mem­ber of the chap­ter and past-pres­i­dent, Bill Tim­bury, who has served more than 30 years and was in­volved in Cyprus, said the high­light of the day was meet­ing old friends.

“There were a lot of peace­keep­ers who showed up that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It’s heart­warm­ing to see them come out and be to­gether,” said Tim­bury.

“A meet­ing like this ev­ery­one shows up and talk about old times and have a good con­ver­sa­tion.”

Although Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Veterans in United Na­tions Peace­keep­ing wasn’t founded un­til 1989, there have been Cana­dian peace­keep­ers all over the world since the late 1950s.

“Cana­dian peace­keep­ers have served all over the world, most Cana­di­ans re­mem­ber Cyprus, the Golan Heights in Syria, the Si­nai in Egypt, Sierra Leone, the Congo to name but a few,” said Michele Gardiner, an as­so­ciate mem­ber of the chap­ter who em­ceed the event. “More re­cent UN ops were the former Yu­goslavia, Afghanistan and Rwanda. Many of th­ese mis­sions were not with­out risk. Since United Na­tions Emer­gency Force we have lost 130 sol­diers; four of th­ese are Cape Bre­ton­ers.”

The Cape Bre­ton­ers killed in ac­tion over the years were Cpl Elmer Gor­don Groom, Trooper Joseph Hec­tor Camp­bell, Pte. John Alexan­der Lerue and Capt. Aloy­sius Roach.

Twenty-two mem­bers of the Cape Breton Re­gional Po­lice Ser­vice have par­tic­i­pated in 24 peace­keep­ing mis­sions through the In­ter­na­tional Peace Op­er­a­tions branch.

Af­ter­ward, mem­bers gath­ered for a re­cep­tion at Kiju’s restau­rant in Mem­ber­tou to catch up with old friends.

“We meet once a month but ev­ery­body can’t make it all of the time,” said Grif­fin. “It’s just great to see the guys.”

Canada has been in­volved in more than 30 UN mis­sions, with more than 125,000 Cana­dian peace­keep­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Cana­dian peace­keep­ers still serve all around the world, in­clud­ing places like the Su­dan, Kosovo, Haiti and the Ara­bian Sea.


Fred Ar­buckle, from left, Bill Tim­bury, Butch MacNeil (wheel­chair), Jack Royale, Jack Grif­fin, Don Gardiner and Michele Gardiner, who are mem­bers of the Ma­jor Gen­eral Lewis MacKen­zie Chap­ter of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Veterans in United Na­tions Peace­keep­ing, pose for a pic­ture at Kiju’s restau­rant at a re­cep­tion that fol­lowed a cer­e­mony at the Syd­ney foard­walk com­mem­o­rat­ing Na­tional Peace­keep­ers Day.

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