As 2010 is coming to an end, I would like to wish the Comox Valley best wishes for the upcoming year.
The holiday season permits us some precious time with our loved ones to celebrate the holiday festivities, as well as an opportunity to reflect on this past year.
We are thankful for those that mean the most to us, and for 19 Wing, we are thankful to the communities of the Comox Valley.
This year, my priority and attention has been in the area of family support and integration; schools, day care, doctors, work etc.
In fact, industry and local businesses have provided excellent feedback, embracing the opportunities and experiences our military families bring to the Valley.
A lot was achieved by members of the Wing, your neighbours and friends, in 2010.
Throughout the year, they demonstrated just how Canadian Forces personnel can be outstanding ambassadors for our great country both at home and abroad.
19 Wing was instrumental in making the 2010 Olympics a success, providing a venue for air support and security. We also worked in the Caribbean, South America, South Pacific, Japan and the Arctic, as well as on the ready for waters around the Horn of Africa. 19 Wing also participated with the earthquake relief in Haiti.
407 (Long Range Patrol) Squadron, flying the Aurora aircraft, in addition to its primary national duties of high seas driftnet surveillance deep over the Pacific, maritime and northern patrol, was a key player for surveillance during the 2010 Olympics, anti-smuggling in the Caribbean and at home in Canada.
On the home front, 442 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron was involved in 138 missions this year, medical evacuations, saving lives and one major search for a missing aircraft in Penticton, B.C.
Our Buffalo aircraft and Cormorant helicopters deployed to Whitehorse in September, where the squadron organized the national yearly search and rescue exercise.
Both ground crew and aircrew will continue to strive for the highest level of professionalism so That Others May Live.
All of these achievements would not be possible without the support and understanding our members and their families receive from the people and organizations throughout the Valley.
Local organizations and businesses have been truly overwhelming in their support to 19 Wing once again through their generous donations. The generosity in the Valley is second to none!
For all those reasons, I have discovered how important it is for the Wing to make every effort to give back.
Our families continue to be proud contributors to the United Way campaign, contributing 20 per cent of the overall donations in the Valley.
Strong participation in the Terry Fox Run, Free the Fuzz, Tour de Rock, Coast Reality Christmas Hamper Program and other local and military charities are just a few ways military families integrate themselves into the fabric of the Comox Valley society.
This community is built on tightly-knit relationships, fuelled by remarkable and enduring values and morals. It is an honour and privilege to be part of it.
For this, I sincerely say “Thank you!”
Col. Michel Lalumière
19 Wing Commander