How does one at­tempt to make a dif­fer­ence? Novem­ber 11, 2016

The McLeod River Post - - Viewpoint -

I re­ceive many, many emails from my con­stituents. There is one I found very mov­ing and I want to share it with all of you. This email was from John Mys­licki, a res­i­dent of Ni­ton Junc­tion. It was sent to me on Novem­ber 14, right af­ter Re­mem­brance Day.

“This is what I have done over the past dozen years to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to our vets and sol­diers.

In 2002, four of our sol­diers died in a friendly fire in­ci­dent in Afghanistan, and their memo­rial ser­vice was held in a com­pletely packed hockey arena known as SkyReach, and even­tu­ally as Rex­all Coli­seum. I did not at­tend that ser­vice, but I watched it on TV, and was very moved by the sup­port of those in at­ten­dance. It was at that time I re­solved to show our mil­i­tary fam­i­lies that I also ap­pre­ci­ated what they were do­ing for Canada.

It started out with wal­let cal­en­dars. One side had a full year cal­en­dar, and on the back was this mes­sage. “We Salute Cana­dian Mil­i­tary Per­son­nel and Your Fam­i­lies for the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion you make to­wards our safety, at home and abroad. We also ac­knowl­edge the per­sonal sac­ri­fices made by you and your fam­ily mem­bers. We Ap­pre­ci­ate All That You Do! Take Care and God Bless! John, Marg and Lanny Mys­licki, Ni­ton Junc­tion, Al­berta.” I or­dered 2000 ini­tially and took them to the MFRC (Mil­i­tary Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre) at Ed­mon­ton Gar­ri­son, and asked if these could be sent to the sol­diers de­ployed in Afghanistan. The re­ac­tion of the staff was so pos­i­tive that I or­dered an­other 10,000 cal­en­dars. I con­tacted ev­ery MFRC across Canada to find out if they would ac­cept and hand these out. I found tak­ers for all 10,000, and mailed them out. Then, to my sur­prise, I re­ceived a very nice let­ter from Kan­da­har, Afghanistan, ex­plain­ing how well re­ceived the wal­let cal­en­dars were by the sol­diers on the base, es­pe­cially since there was not sta­tionery store lo­cally where such an item was avail­able.

The fol­low­ing few years, I con­tin­ued to or­der 10,000 wal­let cal­en­dars for dis­tri­bu­tion to MFRCs and to our over­seas bases. In ad­di­tion, know­ing how well our “Win­ners Are Peo­ple Like You” pens were be­ing re­ceived by cus­tomers and other lo­cals, I searched through the pen de­signs and came upon a white pen with a Cana­dian Maple Leaf Flag im­printed on the bar­rel. We added a mes­sage of sup­port and thanks to our mil­i­tary. My first or­der was for 3,000 pens. Be­cause I had been bring­ing the wal­let cal­en­dars to Ed­mon­ton Gar­ri­son MFRC, I re­ceived an email in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend the July 1 cel­e­bra­tion at Ed­mon­ton Gar­ri­son.

I ar­rived early at Ed­mon­ton Gar­ri­son, so I de­cided to walk around the PMQs (Pri­vate Mil­i­tary Quar­ters), knocked on doors, and handed out pens, thank­ing the fam­i­lies for be­ing in the mil­i­tary and serv­ing. I have to say that there were many sur­prised peo­ple that morn­ing, but no one was more sur­prised than I was, when I heard some­one holler and asked me to stop. He was a husky man, and I thought I was in trou­ble for go­ing house to house on the base. The sol­dier put out his hand, shook mine very hard, and with tears in his eyes, said, “Thank you for giv­ing the pens to my wife. No one has ever done this be­fore, and I thank you for this very kind ges­ture. It is so nice to see that we have your sup­port. Bless you!” Melt my heart? Yes he did. I had many sim­i­lar com­ments from sol­diers and their fam­i­lies when I handed out more pens at the base cel­e­bra­tions that af­ter­noon.

I took more pens to Ed­mon­ton MFRC to send to our troops in Afghanistan in 2005, but by then the reg­u­la­tions had changed, and any parcels had to be de­liv­ered to a par­tic­u­lar sol­dier sta­tioned there. It was right around that time that I read an Ed­mon­ton Jour­nal ar­ti­cle about a re­servist who was serv­ing in Kan­da­har, com­plete with her reg­i­ment num­ber. Aha! I mailed a box of 750 pens to her, ask­ing her to hand these out to our sol­diers at Kan­da­har. In re­turn, I re­ceived a very nice let­ter of thanks.

On Christmas Day of 2005, our phone rang, and I ex­pected it to be fam­ily. The voice on the other end said, “You don’t know me, but I was writing with your pen while I was serv­ing in Afghanistan. I just wanted to call and let you know how much we ap­pre­ci­ate what you are do­ing for us.” We chat­ted a bit, and then, it was done. What a beau­ti­ful Christmas mes­sage!

Fast for­ward to Au­gust of 2006. Our com­mu­nity was dev­as­tated by the news that Master Cor­po­ral Ray­mond Arndt, from Peers, was killed in ac­tion in Afghanistan. The war had come home! I at­tended Ray’s ser­vice in Ed­son, and handed out our Sup­port pens to the sol­diers who had come by the bus load to at­tend Ray’s ser­vice. There was a group of sol­diers vis­it­ing by the en­trance of the Ed­son Le­gion, so I started hand­ing out pens, thank­ing them for their ser­vice. One lady sol­dier, who was squat­ting down said, “No thanks, I al­ready have a few of your pens.”

I looked closely at her, then asked, “Are you the one who got my box of pens in Kan­da­har?” With her pos­i­tive re­ply, and sin­cere thanks, I knew that I was slowly mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. A cou­ple weeks later, Ed­mon­ton Gar­ri­son hosted a mil­i­tary per­son­nel only ser­vice for Master Cor­po­ral Ray Arndt and five other sol­diers who made the supreme sac­ri­fice in the past month. Since I was hand­ing out Sup­port pens, no one stopped me from en­ter­ing the hangar for the ser­vice.

In 2010, I de­cided to broaden my sup­port, and started at­tend­ing the Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices at the But­ter­dome on the Univer­sity of Al­berta cam­pus…… my alma mater. My goal each year was to hand out be­tween 750 and 1000 pens, each with a hand­shake and “Thank You for your ser­vice.” Only once was I asked to leave the pa­rade floor, and go sit with the au­di­ence. No big deal to me, since the ser­vice was about to start, and I would hand out more pens af­ter the ser­vice.

As the years went by, more and more sol­diers, vets and their fam­i­lies be­gan to rec­og­nize me. Some would say, “I won­dered if you were go­ing to be here again.” Three years ago, I handed a pen to one sol­dier who was stand­ing on his own. I walked up, shook his hand, thanked him for his ser­vice, and handed him a pen. He looked down at the pen in his hand, looked up at me, looked down at his pen again, and then said, “I al­ways won­dered what you looked like. You see, I car­ried your wal­let cal­en­dar with me while I was in Afghanistan in 2006.” BAM. You could have knocked me over with a feather. To­day, I left home at 7 am to be at the But­ter Dome by 9:15. It was a beau­ti­ful drive in, al­most sum­mer like. As soon as I parked, I started hand­ing out pens to those in uni­form, on my way into the But­ter Dome. Fol­low­ing, are a few of the com­ments I re­ceived as I handed out the pens.

Quite a num­ber of sol­diers and vets called me by my first name, and wel­comed me back to the ser­vice.

One sol­dier told me that she has my pens, from pre­vi­ous years, on dis­play in a glass case in her house.

A sol­dier thanked me for the pen, and said, “I hope you would be back to­day. I brought you this (a dark and light green Cana­dian flag on a key fob), and we would be hon­oured if you at­tached this to the zip­per on your jacket.”

A rather wob­bly WWII vet stood up, shook my hand, thanked me for the pen, and said he would use it to write out his che­ques. I teased him, and told him I would be watch­ing for my cheque in the mail. He chuck­led. “Not for you he said, for my bills!” Still has a good sense of hu­mour.

To­day, I also re­ceived a hug from Su­san Ameron­gen, from CTV Ed­mon­ton (who in­ter­viewed me for the two minute clip on “Liv­ing by the Golden Rule”), and an­other from J’lyn Nye, who did an out­stand­ing job as Master of Cer­e­monies. She thanked me for her yearly sup­ply of pens.

I no­ticed that a young mom was hav­ing dif­fi­culty hold­ing up both her chil­dren in her arms when the first “march past” was just start­ing. We were all stand­ing, the 2-3 year old girl was just too heavy for Mom to carry. I crossed the aisle, and of­fered to hold the girl for her. She quickly agreed, say­ing that her hus­band was with the PPCLI who would be march­ing past, and her daugh­ter wanted to wave to him. No prob­lem. The girl did not make strange, and we had a good lit­tle chat while the pa­rade was be­ing held in front of us. If you saw the video I posted ear­lier, of the fi­nal march past, I did get the lit­tle girl wav­ing ex­cit­edly to her dad as he passed our po­si­tion.

There were many more com­ments to­day, but I would like to fin­ish off with this one. At the end of the ser­vice, when I was stand­ing close to the Ceno­taph, one of the se­nior mil­i­tary mem­bers ap­proached me, thanked me for his pen, and then said, “Five years ago, I re­garded you as a nui­sance, when I asked you to sit down. To­day, I can say that you are one of us.”

John, thank you for the work you have done for our Veter­ans and the help you have given to the peo­ple of Yel­low­head. Jim Eglin­ski, MP – Yel­low­head

Sul­folane is known to ab­sorb into water mol­e­cules and travel with them. So, as the rain soaks into con­tam­i­nated soil the Sul­folane is likely to end up in the water ta­ble.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.