Remembrance wall gets boost

Remembrance wall gets boost

Jason Derbyshire, from left, associate dealer of Canadian Tire Cataraqui; Dan Gostlin, associate dealer of Canadian Tire on Division Street; Elwin Derbyshire associate dealer of Canadian Tire Cataraqui; Allan Jones, chairman of the Wall of Remembrance; Rick Smith associate dealer of Canadian Tire in the Kingston Centre, and Col. Stephen Kelsey, CFB Kingston base commander, at CFB Kingston on Thursday. Steph Crosier/The Whig-Standard)

The Wall of Remembrance and the military community will be receiving a boost of support from local Canadian Tire locations on Nov. 14.

"We wanted to have a day where we set up tables, so as you walk into the Canadian Tire stores there will be information tables about what the legion does, what the Armed Forces do, what the women's auxiliary does," Rick Smith, associate dealer of Canadian Tire in the Kingston Centre and organizer of the event, said. "More importantly, this national Wall of Remembrance, they are going to be on site accepting donations towards building it."

The entire military and civilian community is invited to learn more about the organizations at all three Canadian Tire Kingston locations -- 2560 Princess St., 59 Bath Rd. and 1040 Division St. In addition to military members receiving 10 per cent off their purchase that day, another percentage of every transaction will go to the Wall of Remembrance.

Allan Jones, founder of the Wall of Remembrance and president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 560 on Montreal Street, said the event at the Canadian Tire locations will bring a lot attention to the project.

"(Nov. 14) will definitely boost it," Jones said. "We have corporate sponsors and Canadian Tire just came on board, so they are obviously going to be a very important sponsor because what they are doing now, nobody else has done this. So they're going to raise money, they've promised a minimum of $5,000.

"So we're very, very pleased, very happy with what they've done."

The Wall of Remembrance honours every Canadian who has died in the defence of Canada since 1812. So far, 117,000 names have been gathered for the online collection, which offers biographies and profiles of each fallen man or woman, along with photos whenever possible and details of their unit. Jones hopes to break ground on the physical $2 million wall, to be located at the Military Communications and Electronics Museum, in the spring and summer. He hopes the final structure will be unveiled in November 2017.

Col. Stephen Kelsey, commander of Canadian Forces Base Kingston, told the Whig-Standard Thursday that the monument and the events at the Canadian Tire stores are humbling.

"First, because it's a very tangible demonstration by the community, and a couple of business owners, of a commitment to an idea," Kelsey said. "And for the families, more than just a great deal, it gives them the opportunity to see that they're part of it. It's not just about the member. I think the big idea that the business owners have really grasped is the ability to contribute something that is bigger than all of us and that's this Wall of Remembrance."

Kelsey, who has been posted to many Canadian Forces bases over this 30-year career, said Kingston has a different level of support for Forces members.

"Outwardly, look up the hill at RMC, we're seen as those military families," Kelsey said. "But we see ourselves as Kingstonians. This is our home, too."

By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard Thursday, November 5, 2015 9:05:10 EST PM