Sunday, July 31, 2011

Host of SpikeTVs Deadliest Warrior raising funds for military families

FGeoff Desmoulin host of Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV was recently in Calgary for the premiere of Season three and decided to host an event to raise funds for the Calgary Military Family Resource Center (CFMRC) at Melrose Bar & Grill. Raffle tickets were sold on prizes and he was also selling shirts to help raise funds.

You can purchase these shirts on his website and a portion of the sales will go to the CFMRCFront of shirt is likeness of fallen soldier Sergeant Vaughan Ingram. Sergeant Ingram joined the Canadian Forces in 1990 as an infantryman in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). During his career he served in all three battalions of the PPCLI and the Canadian Airborne Regiment. During his career he served in all three battalions of the PPCLI and the Canadian Airborne Regiment. Sgt Ingram’s sixteen years as a soldier included operational deployments to Somalia in 1992, Bosnia in 1997 and 2003, Kosovo in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2006. S

On the 3rd of August 2006, Sgt Ingram’s 40 man platoon was overwhelmed by a force of over 200 Taliban fighters as they pushed to seize a key objective in Kandahar province. Early in the battle the platoon commander was wounded and Sgt Ingram assumed command. Under his inspirational leadership, the platoon pressed forward and seized their objective from the enemy. During the fight to hold this vital piece of terrain, Sgt Ingram and 2 of his soldiers were killed by a rocket propelled grenade. For his actions, Sgt Ingram was posthumously Mentioned in Dispatches, a national honour to recognize valiant conduct.
(Write up courtesy of WO Patrick Tower)

Me and Geoff Desmoulin at Melrose Red Mile
for the CFMRC fundraiser

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Portraits Of Honour - The Faces

So I've made a new YouTube video for the Portraits Of Honour and it features a poem called "The Faces" written by Dan Gray specifically for the Portraits Of Honour. The video clip featured in it was taken by the "Canadian Heroes" group when the POH was visiting Hamilton, Ontario.

I decided to make this video for friends of mine in areas of Canada that won't get to see it in person and the slow walk through of all the photos I felt brings it to life. Seeing this in person is something that is hard to capture on video but I hope you enjoy it. I chose the song "My Hero" by Foo Fighters but found an instrumental version as I wanted the focus to be on the words o Dan's poem and on the pictures themselves.

The Portraits of Honour was done by Dave Sopha and took over 7000 hours to create, there are over 100,000 poppies in the background and features the faces of our 157 Canadian soldiers lost in Afghanistan.

Please check out the Canadian Heroes Facebook page and the Portraits Of Honour website to see when this beautiful peace of work is coming to a city near you.

Canadian soldiers are still in Afghanistan

While 2,850 Canadian soldiers are going home, 950 others have started streaming into Afghanistan to help train Afghan security forces to take the lead role in securing the country by 2014. In the majority of the media all you read is “Canada’s Afghan Mission Ends’ yes the doors to the Tim Hortons will be closing in November, yes the hockey rink will no longer be in use by Canadian soldiers but some of our troops are still there and do face danger every day.

There also FOB units still in Afghanistan until Christmas walking the same roads where many of our fallen have been killed. Personally I’m sick and tired of reading news reports in the media that give people the idea that are troops are all home.

I've had several emails from people asking me "So now that our troops are home are you going to continue with your site" well the answer is 100% yes.

1. We have troops deployed at other operations in the world aside from Afghanistan such as Navy in Somalia and Panama, troops away from their families deployed in Alert and many other operations.

2. Thank a Soldier is not only for Canadian troops, we have paired up people as Pen Pals from the United States, Britain, and even Australia. Also 70% of the 4.2 million members are from areas outside of Canada.

3. Thank A Soldier encourages people to say Thank You to our men and women in uniform no matter where they cross paths with them.

4. Our troops are always ready to go in the case of emergencies here at home i.e the ice storms in Montreal, floods in Manitoba and last winter helping stranded motorists in London, Ontario.

5. With so many of our troops returning home showing signs of Combat Stress & PTSD Operation You Are Not Alone is more important than ever, as the song by Julian Austin says many of our troops although physically home are “Still Over There”

After speaking with a personal friend who is currently on tour who said "We don't want people to forget we are still over here" I ask you to please keep in mind that even though in our medias eyes our mission ended when the "Combat Mission" ended, lets not forget those men and women still putting their lives at risk every day.

Thank You

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winnipeg Jets unveil new jersey in honour of the Air Force

For anyone that knows me or just follows my twitter feed you know two things I love NHL Hockey and our military. When I heard that the Winnipeg Jets were going to be releasing their jersey design today I wasn't sure what to expect but when I saw the final design I was blown away.

I have been a Leafs fan for as long as I can remember watching hockey and to see the things the Leafs do for our troops with "Military appreciation Night" "Lukes Troops" at every home game and morale visits to the men and women serving in Afghanistan it has always made me very proud to be a fan. To see this show of respect today by True North Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets well I am for sure going to be getting one of their jerseys for when they come to Calgary to play the Flames.

You can read the full release below from an the Winnipeg Jets.

Thank You -
True North Sports & Entertainment unveiled the primary and secondary logos for theWinnipeg Jets Hockey Club on Friday afternoon. The Jets will begin play in the NHL this coming season.

The design for the new logo, which was developed in partnership with Reebok and the NHL, was inspired by the logo of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

"True North Sports & Entertainment felt it was important for the new Winnipeg Jets to develop a strong new identity," said Mark Chipman, Chairman & Governor of True North Sports & Entertainment. "We felt it was important to authenticate the name Jets and we believe the new logo does that through its connection to (Canada's) remarkable Air Force heritage, including the rich history and relationship that our city and province have enjoyed with the Canadian Forces."

True North Sports & Entertainment was also grateful to the Department of National Defense for their assistance in the process.

"We have always had a close relationship with 17 Wing throughout the years, dating back to our annual Manitoba Moose Military Night," said Dorian Morphy, Senior Director, Marketing & Brand Management of True North Sports & Entertainment. "We are thrilled to be able to continue this relationship in a significant way. The design cues for the plane were inspired by the military jets flown by the Air Force over the years. So not only were we able to establish a new identity for our brand, but we were able to maintain a traditional, time honored look to the logo."

The Jets will unveil their uniforms and uniform colors at a later date. Their first regular-season game will take place on Oct. 9 against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Autumn Leaves - A poem by J.T. Murphy

December of 2009 Canada lost six soldiers on the 24th & 30th Lt. Andrew Nuttall, Sgt George Miok, Cpl Zachery McCormack, Sgt. Kirk Taylor and Pte. Garret Chidley This was one of the worse weeks for losses since Canada began it’s mission in 2001. My mother who frequently writes poetry at the time put together these words and wanted to share them on my blog.

We watch them fall

Like autumn leaves

Silent upon the ground

Beneath the flag

Strong, flying in the breeze

Our hearts cry out

With Pain for those left behind

With Praise for those who serve

With Prayers for Hope and Peace

- J.T Murphy

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Soldier wins All Star Dad Contest

Back in June I posted a request from Cpl Ian Spingle's wife Mandy who nominated her husband for the Dove Men+Care® All Star Dad Search contest. Thanks to my awesome group members and friends who voted every day I am very happy to announce that Cpl Spingle finished first all across Canada and has won a trip for him & his family to the 99th Grey Cup game in Vancouver.

In the past five years I have met a lot of soldiers and their families. I met Mandy through Facebook when her husband was about to go on his first deployment. We talked a lot during his deployment and became very close friends although we have never met in person. I also sent Ian some packages, with help from some group members, while he was on tour.

These soldiers and their families I have met have become like family to me and that being said Mandy contacted me today to let me know that her, Cpl Spingle and her father are going to the event and have one extra ticket. They have invited me to join them on an all expense paid trip to Vancouver to watch the 99th Grey Cup game with them.

When I had sent this out originally to my Facebook friends and group I had no idea that this would be happening and for them to include me in this family trip means more to me than a few words on any blog can express. Thank you so much to Cpl Ian Spingle and Mandy Spingle for this and THANK YOU to everyone who voted every day and helped Ian finish in first place out of thousands of entrants.

Even though the Dove Men+Care® contest is closed you can still visit their Facebook page and create your very own retro CFL player card.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Portraits Of Honour comes to Calgary

When we hear the news on the media about another one of our soldiers being killed they are mentioned on the news for about sixty sections, followed by what number they were to be killed in Afghanistan an that is usually it. After a short amount of time they sadly become numbers and the names and the faces usually aren't remembered.

Then there's people like Dave Sopha who has spent over 7000 hours creating a series of portraits for our fallen heroes called "Portraits Of Honour". I was glad to finally meet Dave today in Calgary, Alberta as the POH was on display for public viewing as it makes its way across Canada.

"Each photo takes about 60-80hrs depending on the detail" Dave said "There are also over 100,000 poppies for on the painting for all those who gave their lives defending our country" when Dave told me this I had chills. I took a moment and looked at every photo and knowing so many of their families personally it really hit me.
Yesterday the Royals William & Katherine were in town and they took a moment to lay a wreath in honour of our fallen and when Dave was talking the moment you could see how proud he was as things were supposed to be official but they took more than a few moments there looking at every photo and a great show of respect.

The Portraits of Honour is currently touring across the country and you can see when it's going to be in your location on their website.