Saturday, November 17, 2012

What is a Hero? - By Jim Seggie (Father of Cpl Mike Seggie)

This write up was sent to me by Jim Seggie (Canadian Forces) Jim is also the father of Cpl Mike Seggie who was killed in Afghanistan in September 2008.  I met Jim & Shirley seggie on Facebook after I attened the funeral of Pte. Chad Horn who was also killed the same day along with Cpl Andrew Grenon.  Jim emailed me this and asked that I share it on this blog page.  Thank You Jim for sharing with us.

The word “HERO” means many different things to many different people. The definition, according to is:

A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

I think we all have or own heroes, whether they have performed heroic acts or not, or have what is considered heroic qualities. We all have our own ideas of what is a hero is, or should be.

Some of us think sports stars are heroes, and to an extent I can relate to that. I do admire the skill, the talent, the poise that a pro football quarterback shows when he’s surrounded by four or five 300 pound defensive linemen, or an NHL goaltender under fire at close range from a 100 mph slapshot, but to me – they are not heroes.

While rock stars who sell millions of dollars of albums are very talented – to me – they are not heroes. They rarely are in dangerous situations that see their lives put at risk.

Celebrities are not heroes. They are celebrities. We too often confuse the terms “celebrity” and “hero”. Celebrities seek out the spotlight, expect people to fawn over them and to bend to their every wish – heroes do not.

Movie stars are not heroes. They get paid more money than we will ever see to portray heroes, generally inaccurately.

Recently, my wife and I had the honour of attending a ceremony in Rideau Hall, Ottawa that recognized acts of extraordinary courage. You have probably never heard of the people I am going to tell you about.

One of them is a young lady, a Canadian, who was then 11 years old, who saved her mom’s life. The citation reads:


Miranda Suggitt, S.C. Lindsay, Ontario Star of Courage
On November 22, 2005, Miranda Suggitt, then 11 years old, risked her life to prevent her mother from being shot. During the evening, Miranda’s father became intoxicated and violent, threatening her mother with a rifle. The rifle went off, missing the woman, who quickly ran outside. Miranda’s father followed his wife and pointed the weapon at her. Without any regard for her own life, Miranda stepped between the two and begged her father not to shoot. He yelled at her to move, but she stood her ground until others helped to take the rifle away and hold him until the police arrived. Through her actions, Miranda showed great courage and prevented a terrible tragedy.

Another hero is this young man, a fellow Manitoban:
Scott Borlase, M.B. Winnipeg, Manitoba Medal of Bravery
On January 31, 2009, 14-year-old Scott Borlase was instrumental in keeping his sister safe during a snowstorm on Lake Winnipeg, in Manitoba. Scott, his 11-year-old sister, and their father had started their snowmobile outing on a clear morning, but by early afternoon the weather had changed. They lost sight of the marked trail due to the severe winds and heavy snowfall. At one point, Scott’s father got off the snowmobile and collapsed to the ground. Unable to find a pulse, Scott made the decision to go for help with his sister. In the blinding storm, Scott drove in a straight line hoping to eventually reach the shoreline. Once at the shore, Scott was able to use his cell phone to call 911 and provide directions to their location. He brought his sister into a bush area away from the biting wind, and used a solar blanket to keep them warm until help finally arrived several hours later. Another search party located his father who, sadly, did not survive.

Two acts of extraordinary courage made all the more extraordinary by the relative youth of the recipients - have been well and justifiably recognized - But there are everyday heroes we don’t always recognize as heroes.

The local volunteer coaches– who patiently take those little people – our kids and grandkids – and teach them the intricacies of hockey, or baseball, or football or …or whatever sport or activity the kids decide to play. They do this of their own free will and on their own time, often without due recognition. They may not be perfect – but they are true heroes.

The person who stops to aid someone who has a flat tire or broken down car – that is a hero to the person in need at that time. It may seem like a small inconsequential action – but to the stranded motorist, their hero has found them and they have found their hero.

The teacher that goes the extra mile to mentor a student – to support and encourage their students to do their very best – to that student, that teacher is a hero. That teacher may have had to work after hours, without recognition or compensation.

Our police, firefighters, soldiers and paramedics – to those that need their services, they are heroes. We don’t often think about it and tend to take them for granted, but they do heroic things on a daily basis, whether it be rescuing someone from a life threatening situation, or just being there to ensure that we, as a community, are safe.

To those people who live along the banks of the Red River - and theAssiniboine River – the volunteers who gave their own time and effort to help their fellow Manitobans – they are heroes, and I am sure we can all agree on that point. Some of them have willingly put their own safety in jeopardy so that others may be safe. They are true heroes.

True heroes are easy to find – you just don’t realize it until you think about it. Our heroes are in our own neighbourhood, working, living, and going about their business, just like we do, without notice, without fanfare and no expectation of reward. I found some heroes hanging out in my house the other day…my wife Shirley, my daughter Michelle and her husband Mat, and our two grandchildren, Carson and Stella. They are what I consider to be heroes.

In fact all you have to do is look in front of you, behind you and either side of you, and you will soon find a hero.

In Memory of Cpl Mike Seggie KIA Sept. 2008

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Call To Action - Letter

I have had several people send me letters to use for people to send to their Government representative and I have combined them so that everyone can use the same one if they choose, you will have to edit some things which I will bold and applicable to each country.  I will also load it to "Google Documents" so that you can download to computer and edit how you see fit.

If you haven't seen our original CALL TO ACTION post yet, please check that out before proceeding.

To download from Google documents CLICK HERE or Copy & Paste the below letter.

Dear (Member of Parliament or US Senator name here)

I am writing to you today concerning the millions of men and women who have served their country in a time of need and who are now suffering needlessly. In return for their many sacrifices, these brave individuals have asked very little. In truth they have received very little support and in some cases have been removed from duty and denied the help and monetary support they deserve.

Food banks across the country are seeing an alarming increase of Veterans and their families using their services. The increasing usage of local food banks by our Veterans clearly illustrates that our government and the Department of Defense are failing our soldiers and veterans at the most basic of levels.

Veterans are returning from overseas who are suffering with symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)and who are afraid to come forward and seek the help they desperately need for fear of appearing ‘weak’ and being told to ‘suck it up’. They fear being forced out of the services and/or losing their hard earned pensions and benefits. More and more soldiers have committed suicide than the number of names that are on the Vietnam Memorial and yet no one seems to care or believe that this is an issue worth covering in the media. When the media does come calling, they twist the soldiers’ words and make them seem like monsters. Families are falling apart. Children are losing their parents....again. And a nation carries on as if nothing is wrong.

We can’t erase the horrors they have witnessed and that have been etched into their memories, but we as a nation, and specifically you as the government who sent them to fight for our country, MUST do something to help ease the pain and anguish that our brave men and women are suffering. It is shameful that a nation would require such a sacrifice of her sons and daughters and then turn its back on them when they return broken and bruised. They did not fail their mission and yet we continue to fail THEM!

Remembrance Day/Veterans Day honours our fallen, those who have served and came home and those who are serving, but what happens the other 354 days of the year? It is time for our government to stand up for those who were willing to die for their country. It is time to step up and take responsibility and to help heal the wounded, for every soldier who goes to war comes home wounded and scarred. If not physically, then mentally by what they have seen and endured while serving their nation.

They left their homes. They left their families. They were prepared to die in order to defend a people they didn't even know in a foreign land. They defended our honour and exemplified a nation’s belief that ALL people deserved basic human rights. Isn't it their right to live without fear? Isn’t it their right to expect help in their time of need?

More soldiers have committed suicide than the number of names that are on the Vietnam War Memorial yet no one seems to care or think this is an issue worth covering on the media. We have veterans who returned home that are living on the streets, unable to provide for themselves with no one to turn to, nobody reaching out to help them.They should never be left out in the cold having to worry about where their next meal will come from.How easily they have been forgotten and left behind.

(Remembrance Day/Veterans Day) has now been observed.  It is now time to show them that we as a nation are just as proud of them, and to prove to them that just as they did not abandon us, we have not abandoned them. It’s time for us to stand up for our Veterans and changes have to be made.

Sincerely, Sign your name

Canada : Find your Member of Parliament using your postal code 
United States : Find your member of Senate
United Kingdom : Find your MP
Australia : find your government elective 

Monday, November 12, 2012

They stood up for us, NOW Let’s stand up for them

We have prospered because we have always had cit­i­zens willing to rise to answer the call to serve in hours of need. The millions who have worn the military uniform have expressed our national resolve. On November 11th we honor our vet­er­ans, past and present, for their unyielding sac­ri­fice and ded­i­ca­tion to our great nations.

In return for their many sac­ri­fices, these brave indi­vid­u­als ask very lit­tle. And thus, it falls to an indebted nation to meet their self­less­ness with thankfulness.

I was watching a news report the day before Remembrance Day and they seem overjoyed to report these numbers :

Three in 10 Canadians say they will attend a Remembrance Day ceremony in 2012 (up eight points from 2010) and 80% of Canadians say they will observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. (up five points from 2010).

Wow, 30% of 34,000,000+ will take one hour of the 8765 hours in a year to take a moment to remember all those who gave their lives so that we will be free, I can see why the news anchor was so happy to report these numbers.

But what happens from November 12th to November 10th? Most people go back to their normal lives and don’t think about our Veterans again until the week leading up to Remembrance Day.

I was recently speaking with the director of a homeless shelter in Los Angele’s “Skid Row” called “The Midnight Mission” and he informed me that at least 35% of the people that use their services are Veterans.

“Veterans Food Bank” is three words that should never have to be spoken ever but I spoke with a representative from the Calgary location yesterday at our Remembrance Day Ceremony who said they are seeing the numbers increase of Veterans having to use these services.

We have Veterans returning from serving overseas who are suffering with symptoms of PTSD afraid to come forward and seek help as they are seen as being weak or told to suck it up. More soldiers have committed suicide than the number of names that are on the Vietnam War Memorial yet no one seems to care or think this is an issue worth covering on the media.

This brings me to the launch of our new project “A CALL TO ACTION” it’s time to come out from behind the keyboard and do something about this.

It is time we—as coalition nations—take the proper steps to renew our com­mit­ment to those who served our nation. Whenever I post anything on “Thank A Soldier Facebook” there’s always tons of comments from people saying “We should do this every day” or “I Thank our military every day or when I see them” well that is awesome and the main objective our page but our Veterans (Young & Older generation) are being neglected and it’s time for us to stand up together.


1. Our Action Plan – Contacting Government officials

Below is a list for each location on how to contact your government representative and tell them you have had enough of how our Veterans are being treated.

If you are unsure of what to send in your letter or email you can CLICK HERE FOR THE LETTER YOU CAN COPY & PASTE

Note : for our Canadian members : Steven Blaney, Minister for Veterans Affairs might be another good person to CC any e-mail to?

Canada : Find your Member of Parliament using your postal code 
United States : Find your member of Senate
United Kingdom : Find your MP
Australia : find your government elective 

We have joined forces with Military Minds & Vets Canada on this but welcome others to join us, we are all grassroots movements and this is not about receiving donations or asking for help it’s free to get involved with this and that’s why I’m leaving the above open for people to contact your representative internationally and tell them how you feel about this if you agree with us.

2. Join one of the following Facebook groups to join their missions : 

MILITARY MINDS : A grass roots movement for all coalition forces returning home from deployment cope with PTSD started by Canadian Forces member Cpl Chris Dupee. Military Minds goal is to raise awareness for the stigma around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Breaking down the wall of stigma; one brick at a time 

Thank A Soldier - Our page started out in 2007 as a page for sending coffee to Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan, through growth and people from every corner of the world joining our page it has turned in to a multipurpose page. Introducing military families together, gratitude campaigns, connecting family members of fallen soldiers together and bringing light to issues in the military community 

V.E.T.S Canada : A volunteer-led registered charity (Registration #826667602RR0001) based in Nova Scotia with outreach across the country. V.E.T.S. aims to provide aid and comfort to transient and homeless Canadian veterans by providing the essentials in emergencies, and assisting those at risk. Click here to join their Facebook page 

3. Help up spread the word by sharing this post on Twitter & Facebook.

The more people that take part in this and bring awareness to how our Veterans are being treated maybe we can actually make a difference and changes made to current policies. 

Facebook : Go to the "Thank A Soldier Facebook page" and click SHARE on THIS PHOTO
Pinterest - If you're on Pinterest go here and RE-PIN our post 

“They stood up for us, NOW Let’s stand up for them”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I will never "Opt Out" of Remembrance Day

So today I woke up and do what I usually do which is have a sip of morning coffee and check my "Thank A Soldier Facebook page & Twitter" 

The first thing I see is a post someone had put up that said "Schools Allow Students Choice Of Attending Remembrance Day Services"  and the first thought that came to my mind was "Disgusting" and I posted it on our page.  A variant of comments started to come in but I removed the post after as the messages turned in to some racial slurs, assumptions and personal attacks.

For me growing up I used to look forward to the Remembrance Day Ceremonies and listening to the Veterans speak, as the years went on and we got some new technologies I looked forward to a video being played, I remember every year as plain as day tearing up during the moment of silence as I thought about all the men and women who gave their lives for my freedom.

Last year my niece who attends a public school named after a famous WW2 battle, wrote down her thoughts as part of a class assignment  

She says "In the video my eyes were watery" and I was instantly taken back to my childhood Remembrance Day Ceremony. 

Someone commented on our the Facebook post earlier saying 

"Remembrance Day is nothing but a celebration of WAR" 

well it's not a CELEBRATION of War. It is a way to pay respects to the people who gave their lives for this country, to show Veterans that we are thankful for their sacrifices and efforts to protect us and our way of life.

I also saw this written on a friends page today and asked permission to share it : 

"I just got back from the Remembrance Day at the girls’ school, and it got me thinking  I want Remembrance Day to mean more than just a ceremony to my kids, and to be more than just saying a poem about some poppies. And I want that day to be special, to actually be about remembering. To say that Remembrance Day should be about working for peace is all well and good, but you can work for peace every other day of the year. I want this one day – just one day – to be about simply remembering. Honestly, given what those in the service and their families deal with, I don’t think that having one day that is for remembering and not dedicated to anything else is not too much to ask."  - Kira Olfert-Knudsen

Midway through my day I log in to Twitter and see that "Remembrance Day" is trending so I thought to myself wow maybe that's a good sign, then however I start to read posts like this : 

Another few that have since been deleted said 
"Remembrance Day - Lets have a moment of silence for Michael & Whitney" #Gonetoosoon 

"I'm not going to this years Remembrance Day Ceremony it's always the same old shit"
Well that's a good thing it means no rockets have come crashing down through your school gymnasium nor do you have to worry about stepping on an IED on the way back from recess no?  

At this point I kinda like it when "Remembrance Day" wasn't trending and decided to log out of Twitter for the day and then checked my "Thank A Soldier" email inbox, where I received these drawings done by children aged 3-4 and that quickly turned things around.: 

Yes this post is a little all over the place but so has been the case with my mind and emotions today in reading all these posts & comments.  I know myself I will never "Opt-Out" of attending a Remembrance Day ceremony as long as I'm alive and be there on the 11th hour to pay my respects to those who have given me my freedoms I enjoy.