Boomer’s Legacy: Environmental education in Kosovo

A group shot of military members and children
Pristina, Kosovo. October 5, 2018 – Major Hjalmarson, front and centre, with ninth-grade students in Pristina. He is joined by Maj Pruden (far left), and WO Martel & Cdr Thys (far right). Missing from photo: LCol Southorn.

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On October 5, 2018, Major Kris Hjalmarson led multiethnic school children in a tree planting at a local public school in Pristina, Kosovo while deployed on Operation KOBOLD. The activity was brought about by Boomer’s Fund.

Boomer’s Legacy is named after Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, a dedicated soldier and a Canadian Armed Forces medic. He was killed by a suicide bomber on August 11, 2006. Andrew was committed to saving lives and helping the Afghan people realize freedom. His death was the catalyst to creating this Foundation to help men and women in uniform make a positive difference in the lives of others

The goal of Boomer’s Legacy is to empower all deployed Canadian Armed Forces soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen by raising and providing charitable funds, thus helping them to help others. In this way, they are able to carry on Corporal Andrew Eykelenboom’s strongly felt desire to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to people wherever and whenever Canadian Armed Forces members are.

On October 5, five members of Canada’s Task Force Pristina were welcomed by over 70 children from the multiethnic Albanian/Serbian school Daut Bogujevci. United, they planted over 50 fir trees, linden-trees, and willow trees. This Boomer’s-funded occasion was meant to build local capacity through environmental education, and foster long-term unity in the region between children amongst minority (Serbian) and majority (Albanian) ethnic groups.

On this occasion, Maj Kris Hjalmarson spoke with a very enthusiastic group of ninth-grade students and expressed that these trees represent responsibility, respect, and education. In his address, he reminded the students: “It will now be your responsibility to protect these trees and take care of them so they can one day be fully grown; you must endeavor to also respect these trees and take care of them to allow them to grow for future generations. Finally, you must educate those younger than you to also take care of these trees and encourage them to educate those kids younger than them to do so as well.” He continued, “like our friend Boomer, you as well can make a positive difference in the lives of others and in your own future generations if you embrace the potentials of responsibility, respect, and education.”

Image gallery

  • Two military members dig a hole with shovels
  • A group shot of military members and children
  • Adolescents dig a hole with shovels
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