Highway of Heroes cleanup crew celebrated

Members and supporters of the 2017 Highway of Heroes Cleanup Campaign
Members of the 2017 Highway of Heroes Cleanup Campaign along with Member of Parliament Neil Ellis, 8 Wing Commander Col. Mark Goulden, event organizer Kerri Tadeau and retired Master Corporal Collin Fitzgerald on March 5, 2018. Photo: Makala Chapman

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By Makala Chapman, The Contact

Members of 8 Wing Trenton who helped clean up a portion of the Highway of Heroes are being recognized for their efforts. Local Member of Parliament Neil Ellis handed out certificates of appreciation to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) volunteers on March 5, and thanked them for their service.

It was late last fall when event organizer Kerri Tadeau put the call out to the base. As a result, a large group of CAF members took the initiative to help collect garbage and provide assistance in cleaning up Exit 526.

The Highway of Heroes, which is a 170-kilometre stretch of Highway 401 from Trenton to Toronto, was first designated to Canada’s fallen servicemen and women as a tribute to their sacrifices in 2007. This specific corridor was selected since it was the route that funeral convoys carrying Canada’s fallen would travel when departing from 8 Wing Trenton to the coroner’s office in Toronto.

In his address to some of the military members who aided in the clean-up, Ellis said he had been humbled by their efforts. “It’s about honouring our men and women who have served this country so well,” he shared. “You carry a big load and to see you then go out into the community to help take care of things, it’s really heart-warming.”

Ellis added that whenever he gets the chance to speak to Defence Minister Harjit Sajaan, he is always sure to keep him updated on the initiatives that the men and women of 8 Wing Trenton take part in. “We’re going to take a picture of us all here together and then I’m going to mail it to his personal assistant,” he quipped. “I’ll let him know that things are really going well here.”

Also adding in a few words was 8 Wing Commander Colonel Mark Goulden. He noted that tributes like the Highway of Heroes were especially important since they keep the memories of Canada’s fallen soldiers alive. Having served overseas during the war in Afghanistan, where 158 Canadian soldiers died, Col Goulden said that the stretch of highway would always be special to him.

“It acknowledges that ultimate sacrifice and that continued sacrifice,” he said. “I’m very, very proud.” He then went onto thank the members who volunteered their time for going above and beyond their regular duties.

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