Garrison Petawawa hosts diversity lunch series

Military members participating in the Petawawa Diversity Lunch series
Preparing to enjoy a meal are, from left, 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa Personnel Services Regimental Sergeant Major Master Warrant Officer Kim Pyke, 4 CDSB Petawawa Pers Svcs Commanding Officer and Diversity Champion Lieutenant-Colonel Darcy Wright, Padre Major Mathew Lucas, Garrison Petawawa Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe, and Garrison Petawawa Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner. Photo: Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

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By Patricia Leboeuf – Petawawa Post

The Petawawa Diversity and Employment Equity Advisory Group (PDEEAG) celebrated the multifaceted nature of the military through a special series of lunches at Normandy Court from April 10 to 12.

With 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in high readiness, PDEEAG put the annual Diversity Festival on hold for the year. Instead, the group organized a diversity lunch series to promote education through food. In addition to enjoying an international menu for two days, diners could challenge the quizmasters to win a free lunch.

“We wanted to promote the four groups that we represent and do it over a meal,” said Padre Major Mathew Lucas. “Because most people gather around the table, and that is where we get to know each other.”

PDEEAG recognizes and celebrates four subgroups within the military, which include aboriginal peoples, visible minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. For the past few years, a festival was held to celebrate and allow the community to learn more about their culture and achievements. Although the festival is on hold this year due to the garrison’s high operational tempo, the spirit of the event remained.

“We still wanted to highlight the diversity on the base and even within the general population of Canada, and give people the opportunity to look at it from a different angle,” said Padre Lucas.

PDEEAG Champion and 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa Personnel Services (4 CDSB Petawawa Pers Svcs) Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Darcy Wright said the series is a great initiative. Not only can people try something a bit more exotic than traditional fare, but it is also a unique opportunity to learn about diversity.

“I think it is important to remember that Canada is a nation of immigrants, and a nation made up of people with different backgrounds, views, and opinions,” he said. He hoped that the dining troops challenged themselves with the questions and learned more about the various communities within Garrison Petawawa. “It increases our awareness and makes our community more inclusive,” he added.

Organizers plan to have a similar series of meals next year, and hold the Diversity Festival every two years.

“It is an opportunity for Canadians and military members to realize that we belong to a mosaic community and Petawawa is like that as well,” said Padre Lucas.

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