November 2016 
Nick, I owe you.
Remembrance month:  November. 
Remembrance day: November 11th. 
I have to tell you a short story.  About a Canadian to whom we all owe a debt.  His name is Corporal Nick Kerr.
When Canada engaged in the Afghanistan War Corporal Kerr volunteered to serve in active duty.  Not just once, but for two tours of duty.  He saw a lot of stuff.  And he attended the funerals of eight of his fellow service friends.  Eight.  One of them was his best friend, James Arnal, who was recently remembered in the Honour & Remembrance section of our newsletter.
In late September this year Corporal Kerr drove himself from CFB Petawawa to Whitby, Ontario, to plant trees with the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute in memory of his fallen comrades.  That is about a six hour drive.  I had the privilege of working by his side that day, digging, planting and mulching until the job was done.  The next day, a Sunday, he showed up at another one of our public tree plantings in Ajax, about 15 minutes down the Highway of Heroes to the west of Whitby.  Dig and plant.  All day.  And then he drove himself home.  Another 6 hours. 
Corporal Kerr wanted to do this.  Perhaps he HAD to do it, once he learned of our public plantings.  Perhaps it was therapy, a couple of days of healing and quiet reflection as  he created new life through his efforts, in memory of some people who live no more.
It is likely that I do not have to add to this story for you to understand why we owe him a great debt of thanks.   
Give Nick a Present.
Beginning today we have something special for you at the HoH Living Tribute: a chance to be a Champion for Nick.
Donate $150 to the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute and you will receive a charitable tax receipt, a certificate worthy of framing, a limited edition T shirt and next spring we will send you a tree seedling that you can plant where you please. 
Your donation makes you a tree 'Champion'.  It also provides a present to Canada for her 150th birthday, a gesture that will be meaningful to Corporal Kerr and all of the service people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Your donation will buy a tree on the Highway of Heroes that will provide a living legacy for generations.
It is a legacy that we acknowledge this month, more than any other.
Yours, with thanks for reading and passing this message on to others.....
Mark Cullen,
Chair, HoH LT
p.s. please keep the 150 Tree promotion in mind as we approach a gift for someone or put it on your Christmas list. Learn more about becoming a Champion .   

Honour & Remembrance

This month, we remember the sacrifice made by Major Michelle Linda Knight Mendes. Lest we forget the stories of the individuals behind the uniforms.
Major, Michelle Linda Knight Mendes, CD
Born: July 21, 1978 - Wicklow, Ontario
Enlistment: June 21, 1997 - Ottawa, Ontario
Deceased: April 23, 2009 - Kandahar, Afghanistan, Age 30
Military Service
Force: Army
Battle Group: ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) 
Regiment: Intelligence Branch (Canadian Forces) 
Assigned to Task Force Afghanistan headquarters, deployed with the Canadian contingent of NATO forces.
Citations: Canadian Forces Decoration, Sacrifice Medal (Posthumous)
Major Michelle Knight Mendes chose her military career with purpose after growing up on her family's apple farm near Wicklow, Ontario. Michelle chose the Military as a career after the Cobourg Rotary Club chose her to be an exchange student to Brazil. Michelle was later chosen to speak about her experiences in front of 2,000 people at a Rotary convention in California.  Reflecting on her experience in Brazil, she wanted to see the whole world and the military was a good way to do it, Michelle met so many people from around the globe. She graduated in 2001 with a history degree from the Royal Military College in Kingston and later attained a master's degree in international affairs from Carleton University.
A lay chaplain at the base described Mendes, "Mic" to her friends, as a person who tried to make life more enjoyable for those around her by baking cookies, making cards or just being there when they needed a friendly ear. She always strove to do her best and was highly respected for her marvellous intellect, professional knowledge and work ethic.
Michelle was trilingual, fluent in English, Portuguese and French, Michelle spent the majority of her time reading and analyzing things, always keeping up on current events. When she was little, she'd have a book in every room in the house. And she is the only one ever who could do laps in the pool while she was reading.
They say we die twice, first when the last breath leaves our body and second when the last friend stops saying your name ... Michelle's name along with her legacy live on in all of our daily lives.  

Other Canadians honoured this month include:

Jack Sinclair Boyer - KIA, Jan. 31st, 1943, RCAF Sergeant - Navigator and a Member of 145 Squadron - Killed over the North Atlantic.....
And His Brother......
Gilbert Davies Boyer - KIA, April 4th, 1943, RCAF Sergeant - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and a Member 408 Squadron. Buried in The Netherlands

In memory of Spencer Christopher Renninson, who served in WWII for Great Britain before immigrating to Canada

Ronald Towle, KIA in Europe, WWII. Served with his brother George Walter Towle; Injured &  POW.

John Milne, RCAF; KIA on September 12, 1944. Buried in Leopoldsberg War Cemetery, Belgium.  Remembering the members of the Hawkins and Milne family who served with honour in WWI and WWII.

Flt.Sgt. Air Gunner Howard "Bud" Watson, WWII vet, died Jan. 23rd, 2014.

Captain James A. Beale, DFC; WWII Veteran & recipient of The Distinguished Flying Cross

More Right-of-Way Plantings near Port Hope

There's a new grouping of native trees on the north side of the Highway of Heroes just east of Port Hope. In cooperation with Forests Ontario and St. William's Nursery and Ecology Centre, another 1,800 Hero Trees were successfully planted directly adjacent to the highway (with suitable set-backs as per MTO safety requirements). Coco-fibre mats were placed around the base of each tree to suppress weed growth adjacent to the growing tree trunk. Competition is a primary source of early mortality for new trees planted along the highway. Many groups of trees of the same species were placed together in such a way that an engaging "colour palette" will be noticed from the roadside as the trees grow. Recall that the view of right-of-way trees is essentially limited to a 60 degree cone of sight whilst driving past at high speed. This is taken into account by our landscape architect in order to create an appealing view along the highway. 
Another 1,800 "Hero Trees" were planted east of Port Hope. The planting activities, coordinated by Forests Ontario by the professionals from St. William's Nursery & Ecology Centre. Lou Rinaldi - MPP Northumberland-Quinte West and Al Corlett of Forests Ontario is pictured with HOH Executive Director Scott Bryk.

2017 is Canada's 150th birthday.  You can give a gift to our country that will INSPIRE Canadians in a historic effort to honour our war dead.   To become a Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Champion here's what you need to do AND what we want you to encourage others to do:
Become a Champion by making a $150 donation to buy a "Hero Tree," one of the  117,000 that will be planted along the Highway of Heroes.

Buy a tree, get a tree
For every $150 donation, you will receive a "150Tree Kit" that includes a small '150Tree', a HOHLT t-shirt and an official certificate to commemorate your gift to Canada.  Certificates will be delivered upon donation and your t-shirt and '150Tree' will arrive in the spring, for you to plant in the location that means the most to you!

Encourage others to join the movement
Inspire others to do the same and join you in becoming a Champion.Take a picture, make a short video help make this go viral! On social media, share the news of where YOU will be planting YOUR '150Tree' and WHY using the hashtag #150Tree.
You ca n be one of the catalysts behind this national movement that elegantly combines environmental preservation and supports our troops.  It is an opportunity for Canadians to unite behind this unique t ribute.  Join us and become a Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Champion. 
Current Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Champions:
M ark Cullen:  Board Chair, Highway of Heroes Living Tribute
Hon. Steven Del Duca: MPP Vaughan, Minister of Transportation
Tony DiGiov anni: Executive Director, Landscape Ontario
Arthur Potts: MPP Beaches-East York, PA to the Minister of Environment & Climate Change
Hon. Eleanor McMahon: MPP Burlington, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Transport
Michael DePencier: Founding Director of Investeco Capital
Anne Van Leeuwen: Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Toronto
Melanie Hurley: President & CEO, Canada's Walk of Fame

Anne Gerard van Leeuwen, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (First Dutch Champion) with Mark Cullen
The Hon. Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation (First Champion from Ontario) with Mark Cullen
Arthur Potts, MPP Beaches-East York, PA to the Minister of Environment & Climate Change with Mark Cullen
The Hon. Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport (First woman Ontario Champion) with Scott Bryk

The Canada 150 Tulip Drive
A huge thanks to all of the community groups, schools, Royal Canadian Legion branches, garden clubs, businesses and individuals who have pledged to organize fundraisers in their community to raise funds and awareness for the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute.  Each of these groups have now been sent a special batch of Canada 150 Tulip bulbs to plant in their communities.  We look forward to seeing the pictures of the tulips blooming in the spring - what an incredible way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and a beautiful reminder of contributions made towards the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute.

Be sure to share pictures of your fundraiser and tag us on Facebook and Twitter!
*Brookmill Blvd. Jr. Public School - "Purchase-a-Leaf" Fundraiser
We were also pleased to provide 1,000 tulip bulbs to our friends at The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to plant outside Canada's largest veterans' care facility. The Sunnybrook Veterans Centre  is the largest veterans' care facility in Canada. Working in close partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, they offer long term and complex hospital care to 475 veterans from the Second World War and Korean War.

Rohan Harrison and Lou Fernandes of Sunnybrook join Doug Scott - Korean War Veteran and Sunnybrook resident, along with Scott Bryk and Mike Hurley of the Living Tribute.

Connecting with Students at Seneca College

An important aspect of the campaign involves the education of young people about the Canadians who have served and sacrificed for the country's safety and prosperity. We recently had the opportunity to address over 250 students from Seneca College - an engaged and informed group comprised mostly of Millenials. The students learned about the key aspects of the campaign including the environmental impact of the trees. An interesting exercise saw them collaborating to identify the 10 most common tree species making up the urban forest. Can you do the same? E-mail us your answers and we'll reward those who get the most answers correct. Oh, and you can't Google it!!
The team addresses students from Seneca College about the campaign.

Are you a principal or teacher? Do you have guest speakers address your group or organization? Connect with us to learn more about our engaging educational presentations.
Sign up to be a Volunteer today

Register by clicking the link below and we will let you know when there are opportunities coming up in your area. There are many ways to help, even if you live in different parts of Canada! Help us to honour the names on the cenotaph in YOUR community.

A Focus on Partnership - MTO/FO Site Assessments

Perhaps you can imagine the complexity of the task we have undertaken. It involves coordinating with government, different ministries within each level of government, regional conservation authorities, industry, land owners, and many groups in communities not only along the Highway of Heroes but, increasingly, across the country. It's through a shared vision and goal to honour Canada's fallen with a living tribute that things are getting done.

As an example, let's highlight the work currently underway by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Forests Ontario - to be completed by years end. Under Forest Ontario's management and direction, a detailed and extensive analysis of the entire 170km stretch of the Highway of Heroes is being undertaken to not only identify individual sites, but to also conduct soil tests and compaction analysis at those locations. What does that mean for the campaign? It means we'll have a detailed and prioritized list of planting locations and a good understanding of the soil remediation costs at each site. This will enable more efficient budgeting and cost estimates for right-of-way plantings. This work represents a meaningful "in-kind" support by the MTO and, with the expert analysis from the team at Forests Ontario, will ensure the campaign delivers tremendous value to our campaign supporters. Thank you to our partners!

Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force

Following the outbreak of World War II, The  British Commonwealth Air Training Plan  ( BCATP ) was created as a  massive, joint military  aircrew  training program created by the  United Kingdom Canada Australia  and  New Zealand. 
It  remains as one  of the single largest aviation training programs in history and was responsible for train ing nearly half the  pilots navigators bomb aim ers air gunners
wireless operators  and  flight engineers  who served Commonwealth countries  during the war.

In June 1941, as more Canadian women  pressed  for the opportunity to join the war effort and manpower shortages grew, the government formally decided to allow the enlistment of women in the armed services. The 1941 order-in-council authorized "the formation of a component of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be known as the Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force (CWAAF), its function being to release to heavier duties those members of the RCAF employed in administrative, clerical and other comparable types of service employment." Since the CWAAF became an integral part of the RCAF, another order-in-council changed the CWAAF to the RCAF Women's Division (WD) on 3 February 1942.

Kathleen Oonah Walker, the former head of the transportation service for the Red Cross in Ottawa, and Jean Flatt Davey, a doctor from the medical branch of the RCAF, became the first two members of the CWAAF. To them fell the enormous task of recruiting the initial group of women from across the country that, after training, would form the backbone of the organization.
Three photographers getting ready to take off; from left to right: Flight Sergeant A.D. Lang, Aircraftswomen M. Dudlyke, M. Clayborne and Jeanne Farris. 
National Defence Image Libr ary, PL 20839.

In total, 17,038 women served in the RCAF (WD) during the Second World War. At its peak, in January 1944, the Women's Division fielded 15,556 personnel at home and abroad. Thirty died while in active service.

Today, women are an integral part of Canada's military, serving at all ranks - from private to general, and in all environments - with no restrictions on the jobs they can undertake. The Canadian Armed Forces are a world leader in terms of the proportion of women in its military and in the areas in which they may serve. Among its allies, Canada is highly regarded as being at the forefront of military gender integration.

There are many exceptional Canadian women serving today in the RCAF. Captain Brasseur, later Major, along with Captain Jane Foster went on to become one of the first women to pilot a CF-18 Hornet fighter/interceptor. She is also noted in the annals of military aviation history for being the first woman to investigate a military aviation accident in Canada.  In recent years, women of the Royal Canadian Air Force have gone on to achieve such successes as those of Brigadier-General Lise Bourgon, a former helicopter pilot who assumed command of Joint Task Force-Iraq in May 2015. Also in 2015, Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross became the first woman to hold that rank. She was also the first female commander of Joint Task Force North and the first woman appointed as Chief Military Engineer.

An Avionics System Technician is ens uring everything works properly on an airplane before takeoff.

In case you missed them - Our recent newsletters are filled with photos & news of the campaign - We're gaining momentum!

Calling All Responsible Corporate Citizens!

An increasing number of companies recognize the importance of investing in charitable endevours in the communities in which they live and do business.

With various recognition and activation opportunities available through a partnership with the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute, let us customize a partnership proposal that will help you achieve your Corporate Social Responsibility goals!

Built on our three pillars of Environment, Remembrance and Community, a partnership with the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute  is an excellent way to honour past employees who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces while also engaging your staff,  customers and stakeholders in a meaningful cause that will have an impact both locally and nationally .

For more information please contact Mike Hurley, Manager of Fundraising & Communications.

Executive Director Summary  

It was awesome to see so many groups and organizations engage with the Canada 150 Tulip Drive. It's gratifying to see so many school-aged children and their educators embrace our campaign. They recognize the powerful significance of and opportunity for the history and science teachers collaborating together on an important project. Next stop - The Minister of Education!!

The #150Tree Campaign is underway and will take the Living Tribute through 2017. I can't wait to see the pictures and videos of Canadians sharing their stories about where they are planting THEIR special 150 Tree and why. The family stories will read like a "History of Canada". 

I feel especially proud to feature the third of our special instalments on early Canadian women in service in WWII - The Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force, along with the Canadian Women's Army Corps. and the Women's Royal Canadian Naval  Service were filled with pioneers who challenged the status quo and positively transformed this country (yet again). This month we honour one of our fallen female soldiers from the Afghanistan conflict, Major Michelle Mendes. You shall never be forgotten.

Scott Bryk
Executive Director
Highway of Heroes Living Tribute