Garrison Petawawa serves up hearty helping for United Way
Garrison Petawawa held their annual United Way Campaign Kick-Off Pancake Breakfast on Sept. 12 at Normandy Court. Pictured here (from left) are 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2CMBG) sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Mercer, Renfrew County United Way executive director Pat Lafreniere, 2CMBG commander Col. Michael Wright, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories fire chief Gary McRae, Renfrew County United Way chair Doug Tennant, 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4CDSG) acting formation sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Sophie Desjardins and 4CDSG deputy commander Lt.-Col. Richard Raymond.
GARRISON PETAWAWA – Garrison Petawawa served a warm and hearty helping of pancakes in support of the United Way on Tuesday morning.
Dozens gathered at Garrison Petawawa’s Normandy Court for the annual United Way Campaign Kick-off Pancake Breakfast on Sept. 12.
The breakfast was just one of many United Way fundraisers taking place in Pembroke, Petawawa and surrounding communities to help the Renfrew County United Way reach its campaign goal of $405,000 by the time that their fall fundraising campaign ends in December.
“Last year our goal was $401,000 as we wanted to emphasize the strength in the power of $1 and the power of one person. So this year we just raised that a little bit to have a bigger goal to strive for,” said Doug Tennant, chair of the Renfrew County United Way.
At seven dollars per person – will all funds going towards the United Way – guests were treated to pancakes, beans, sausages and hash browns.
Among those guests were a number of staff from the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre, one of the organizations that has received annual funding from the United Way from the past three years.
“The United Way has been supporting the Robbie Dean Centre for the last three years. So we come to this breakfast every year and we're very excited to get support from them again. With this year’s funds going towards enhancements of our system navigation program which helps us connect people to outside resources,” said Monique Yashinskie, executive director of the Robbie Dean Centre. “There’s a huge connection between the Robbie Dean Centre and the military. So right now, anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent of our services are used by the military and we're very honoured that some of our board members are veterans.”
The lineup of volunteers included 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4CDSG) deputy commander Lt.-Col. Richard Raymond, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2CMBG) sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Mercer, 2CMBG commander Col. Michael Wright, 4CDSG acting formation sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Sophie Desjardins and various soldiers.
Raymond expressed that the annual breakfast fundraiser was a simple way for the garrison to give back to the United Way – an organization improves the lives of their families, friends and so many other people living in the Petawawa, Pembroke and surrounding areas.
“The base used to be more self-contained back when we had our own schools, we had our own services and all of those things. But now, soldiers live and work on the base while our families live and work in the community. That's what United Way supports: the community,” said Raymond. “So by doing this fundraiser, we’re helping ourselves really – by helping everybody else who helps us.”
Along with the breakfast, attending soldiers raised further funds for the United Way by sinking one another in a dunk tank. For $5, soldiers had three chances to sink their comrades or bosses, including Raymond along with 4CDSG Operation Services regimental sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Lindsay Parsons.
After removing their boots and socks, each tentatively took their seat overlooking the dunk tank, which was set up in the courtyard just outside the dining hall. Soldiers gathered around the perimeter of the area, waiting to see them go down. And they did time and time again, both taking it in stride and accepting the fact the money was going towards a good cause.
Raymond was the final dunk tank participant who raised more than $50 for the United Way, after being sunk twice following multiple attempts by various soldiers.
The bulk of the United Way's contributions will come from service clubs, organizations, businesses and workplace campaigns, particularly from Garrison Petawawa and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River.
The funds raised support a variety of health and social programs and services delivered by 14 member agencies including Arnprior Regional Health, Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke, Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley, Community Resource Centre - Renfrew County, Deep River and Area Family Enrichment Network, North Renfrew Family Services, Pembroke Regional Hospital, Petawawa Military Family Resurce Center, Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, Renfrew and Area Seniors Home Support, Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre, The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre, The Grind Salvation Army YouthCentre and Whitewater/Bromley Community Health Centre.