FortisAlberta assists with sunrise ceremony honoring Canada’s fallen soldiers
Oct 31, 2014, 13:17 PM
FortisAlberta has proven time and again that whatever the weather, we’ll be there to serve our customers. So what makes what happened on a cold, crisp, but otherwise calm fall morning on Oct. 29 another prime example of this commitment?
Only a day earlier, Senior Health and Safety Advisor Keith Locke was listening to the radio when he heard a plea for volunteers for a sunrise balloon releasing ceremony near Sylvan Lake to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers. The event was organized by Sylvan Lake resident Michelle Walker who was inspired by the Flags of Remembrance display of 116 Canadian flags erected along Highway 11 by the Veterans’ Voices of Canada.
“On Sunday, I was arguing with my six-year-old that there is more to life than Pokemon cards,” says Michelle. “There are people out there dying for our country; and I got inspired to organize this ceremony to not only help educate my son, but to also provide an opportunity for our community to come together and honour our soldiers.”
On Monday, after getting the support of Mayor Sean McIntyre and Allan Cameron of Veterans Voices of Canada, Michelle began making call after call to organizations in Sylvan Lake and surrounding communities to get involved in the event.
Keith’s response to Michelle’s radio message helped everything come together.
“I called Michelle on Tuesday morning to offer putting together a safety plan for the event,” says Keith. “There were a number of hazards to address like the hill on the side of the highway and traffic, especially since the event would be beginning in the dark.”
Keith not only provided the safety plan, but also made phone calls and helped procure lights, traffic control, balloons, a PA system… and a lot of help from his friends. Ossie Eggenschwiler, Power Line Technician, Kep Holmes, Area Foreman, Tyler Hurum, Apprentice Power Line Technician and Chris Wilson, Acting Area Foreman assisted in setting up the lights, providing bucket lifts where needed and proudly representing FortisAlberta and Canada with waving flags.
“Oh my goodness – FortisAlberta was amazing,” says Michelle. “Everyone helped out, even Keith’s wife. Without Keith, I wouldn’t have been able to pull off it off. Given the short time to put this event together, I am thrilled with how it all worked out.”
Keith and the other FortisAlberta attendees stood tall and proud as 116 balloons were released into the sky with the rising sun. With Remembrance Day almost upon us, it’s a reminder to all of us to never forget the sacrifices of the soldiers who have given their lives to protect our safety and well-being.
Watch for FortisAlberta retirees who will visit the Courtyard and Airdrie offices on Wednesday, Nov. 5 to sell poppies to employees. The Company will also make a $1,000 donation to the Veterans Voices of Canada (VVOC), a registered non-profit organization led by Sylvan Lake resident Allan Cameron who travels across the country interviewing and documenting the stories of our veterans. The VVOC develops and distributes training programs to educate school children of the sacrifices their forefathers made for us to live free in this great country of ours.