Daughter remembers father as mix of superman and Clark Kent 0
The daughter of a Petawawa soldier killed in Afghanistan is the first recipient of free tuition through Algonquin College's Project Hero.
Jocelyn Ranger, a first-year business student, thanked the college for its gracious gift during a brief ceremony Monday.
Her father, Chief Warrant Officer Robert Girouard, died in November, 2006 while serving in Kandahar.
Mr. Girouard was the regimental sergeant-major of the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment at the time of his deployment.
"My family continues to grieve for him every day," an emotional Ms. Ranger said. "As my father's little girl, I never saw my father in his capacity as RSM. Rather, he was a mix of Superman and Clark Kent. He always wanted the best for me and that included a post-secondary education."
If it were not for a program like this, Ms. Ranger admitted she would never have been able to return to school. Now, she said she'll be able to achieve her career goals.
Before he died, Ms. Ranger expressed the belief that her father was at a point in his career where he could have afforded to financially support post-secondary education for his children.
"He would have loved to see me attend college," remarked Ms. Ranger. "When he was killed, not only did we lose a wonderful husband and a great father, we lost the main benefactor of our family."
Under the program, a child of a fallen soldier would be eligible for a maximum of eight semesters of tuition. Eligible candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada, under the age of 26 and registered in a full-time program at Algonquin.
"When a soldier is killed, life stops for his or her family. Plans change. Goals may no longer be attainable. Children don't just lose a parent, they lose a role model," said Base Petawawa commander Lt.-Col. Keith Rudderham. "Awarding free tuition to the daughter of a fallen soldier who served at CFB Petawawa will resonate with our local military families."
Dean Karen Davies said the college is home to a great number of military dependents who study at the campus each year. Project Hero makes sense and it is something the college community can do together to help these dependents, she added.
"We understand that students who are awarded free tuition through Project Hero have suffered a great tragedy through the loss of a parent," said Ms. Davies. "We sympathize with them, and our offer of free tuition is a symbol of our support for them."
The initiative was started by retired general Rick Hillier, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, who is now the chancellor of Memorial University, and Kevin Reed, a prominent businessman and the honourary lieutenant-colonel.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer reporter