July 27: Kindness in Kelowna

A very dedicated and passionate local committee welcomed the Portraits of Honour to Kelowna under sunny Okanagan skies.  Led to our set up location at Orchard Park Mall by a small escort of city fire and police personnel and military vehicles, the tour arrived to what the Mayor of Kelowna, Sharon Shepard, later proclaimed to be the official Portraits of Honour Day in the municipality.

The reading of this proclamation, in addition to speeches by several local dignitaries including MLAs Norm Letnick and Ben Stewart, made for a memorable ceremony complete with colour guard provided by the local legion and two Mounties standing guard in their traditional red serge and stetsons.

In addition to the well-orchestrated formal proceedings, many informal happenings throughout the stop in Kelowna showed that remembrance moves people to thoughtfulness and kindness.

Standing in the parking lot where the Portraits of Honour trailer was set-up, many honks could be heard as passers-by read the words emblazoned on the side of the trailer “ Bringing Canadians together to remember, honour and celebrate our Canadian Forces.”

Visitors young and old took the time to sign a banner, covering it in loving and grateful messages, which will be sent to Afghanistan.

At the nearby farmers market where tour merchandise was being sold, a vendor approached the table, clearly upset that merchandise was being sold in a venue that normally only allows for the sale of food products and local artisan wares. However, upon hearing that the merchandise was in support of our troops, this vendor was more than welcoming and encouraged others to visit the booth.

In whatever way they can, the people the tour touches in each community show they truly believe in our mission to remember, honour and celebrate, and for that we are proud and thankful.