HMCS Toronto’s local Romanian mission
By Sub-Lieutenant Clint Grant, HMCS Toronto
On the morning of Sunday, April 14th, fifty sailors and aircrew from Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto arrived at the Little Rotterdam Children’s Placement Centre in Constanta, Romania.
Their mission? To lend a helping hand and bring smiles to the faces of some eighty children living at the orphanage.
The visit was organized as part of HMCS Toronto’s port visit in Romania, and was an opportunity for sailors to contribute to the community, demonstrate Canada’s commitment to humanitarianism, and brighten the children’s playtime, which now has new picnic tables, benches, basketball nets, bicycles, barbeques, privacy fencing, and gardens.
While the crew from HMCS Toronto were busy making improvements at the Placement Centre, the children were brought to the ship for guided tours.
Stations were set up on the flight deck displaying equipment used by the air crew, the ship’s diving team, boarding party, and firefighters. The children also had opportunities to learn about the roles played by each team onboard, and the chance to dress up in the various gear and equipment.
Lieutenant (Navy) Robin Grant, one of the tour guides, remarked, “The children were quite keen to learn about HMCS Toronto and the Canadian Navy, but above that, they were more interested in what life was like at sea and in Canada. I would say the highlight of the tour was when the children were personally interacting with the crew. The ship’s company demonstrated the responsibilities of life at sea, such as; Firefighting, Naval Boarding Party, Diving, and Flying. There were smiles all around after the tours, they left with an unforgettable experience, and I believe it left a lasting impact on those who helped to make it happen.”
After the ship tour, the children returned to the Placement Centre, where they pitched in alongside the crew of HMCS Toronto. Also present and working alongside was Kevin Hamilton, Ambassador of Canada to Romania, The Republic of Bulgaria, and The Republic of Moldova. Together, everyone manicured the lawns, planted flowers, and challenged one another to a good-natured game of basketball. Crew members at the event said it was gratifying to work together to make small differences that they hoped would add up to a big change for the children.
The event was made possible through proceeds from Boomer’s Legacy, a charitable fund established in honour of Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, a Canadian Armed Forces medic killed on 11 August 2006 in Afghanistan.
The purpose of Boomer’s Legacy being to empower all deployed Canadian Forces soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen by the raising and provision of charitable funds, thus helping them to help others. In this way, they are able to carry on Andrew’s strongly felt desire to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to people whenever and wherever Canadian Forces members are.”
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