BY KALISHA MENDONSA
A local man has taken it upon himself to lead a letter–writing campaign to honour Mrs. Candace Greff as the Silver Cross Mother for the 2017 National Remembrance Day Service held in Ottawa.
Arnie MacAskill, a dedicated Legion volunteer and friend to the Greff family, said he just wanted to do something nice for Candace, as a friend and in honour of her son, Master Corporal Byron Greff.
Byron was the 158th Canadian casualty in Afghanistan, and the last Canadian to be killed under this conflict.
His loss impacted the Lacombe community as a whole, and in his honour, the Royal Canadian Legion #79 (Lacombe’s local branch) named their gathering space the ‘M. Cpl. Byron Greff Memorial Hall’.
“I just wanted to do something for her. I knew Byron, and his family and his parents. I wanted to take the initiative to nominate Candy as the Silver Cross Mother for this year. I thought it would be a nice idea,” he said.
Through conversations with Danny Martin, Royal Canadian Legion Secretary, Dominion Command in Ottawa, MacAskill was instructed to write a letter supporting his nomination of Candace as the 2017 Silver Cross Mother.
In addition to his own letter, MacAskill is seeking community support to help create a stronger recommendation for Mrs. Greff.
He is asking that members of the community – whether they personally know Candace Greff or not – get involved and write a letter recommending her for this honour, so that he can present the letters in person during a trip to Winnipeg later this year.
All letters must be submitted by April 21st as MacAskill will be heading across the country at the end of April to present, in person, a number of letters of support to Martin.
Letters can be emailed to him at email@example.com or sent to his home at 24 Cedar Close, Lacombe The postal code is T4L 1P5.
He said this honour is usually presented to a mother in Ottawa, and thought, “Why couldn’t she be from right here in Lacombe?
“Hopefully I will have hundreds of letters to take with me,” he said.
In addition to emails and letters mailed directly to him,. MacAskill said people can drop off letters of recommendation to the Lacombe Legion branch.
“I just got the idea in my head, contacted the Dominion Legion in Ottawa and was told to write the letter. Then, there is a committee that reviews the submitted names and decides who will receive the recognition.
“I figure the more letters of recommendation I can get, the better the nomination will be and the better chance we have of seeing Candy honoured,” he said.
MacAskill has engaged the Lacombe Composite High School, and students in Bentley and Ponoka to get involved as well. Additionally, he is asking the Central Alberta community to take time and get involved in the campaign to try and bring this honour to Candace.
“I’ve sent a letter to my friends, I’ve sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, I’ve reached out to Blaine Calkins and Ron Orr, the Chief of Police – anyone I can think of.”
When asked his motivation behind the campaign, MacAskill smiled and said, “It’s just something I wanted to do for (Candace Greff).”
Again, the letters can be emailed, sent directly to MacAskill’s home or dropped off at the Lacombe Legion branch. All letters of support in nominating Candace should be addressed to ‘Attn. Mr. Danny Martin’ and must be submitted no later than April 21st.