Aug 19 & 20: Team Effort in Saskatoon

The Portraits of Honour Tour Team came back together in Saskatoon after the only break in a demanding tour schedule. With some new team members joining the tour, and others returning home to pursue other projects, it raised the question: "what truly makes a team?" 

The question was quickly answered as the tour crew watched the local organizing committee in Saskatoon host two days of perfectly executed events. 

On August 19th, a ceremony and fundraising BBQ kicked off our time in the city, bringing many local dignitaries, civilians and uniformed service people out to pay their respects. Enlarged prints of the portraits of the 13 fallen heroes from Saskatchewan were displayed at the front of the stage, and clearly illustrated the loss that those in the community have experienced.

On the following morning, more than 1500 locals visited the Portraits of Honour and took part in a pancake breakfast fundraiser, coming together as a community and showing their support for our troops. Though rain threatened, it held out, with Mother Nature even agreeing to be a contributing member of the team.

Following the breakfast, the tour team was stunned into silence (and tears) as we drove down the highway from Saskatoon to Delmany. Through the hard work of volunteers and generosity of local sponsors, the highway had been transformed into a "Highway of Heroes", with 157 Canadian Flags lining the roadway and enlarged copies of the portraits of each of the fallen soldiers, sailors and aircrew being held by family members, friends and supporters. Two large ladder trucks also held huge Canadian flags that waved overhead and service personnel saluted as our motorcade passed by.

In Delmany, organizers hosted a barbeque, allowing those from Saskatoon's neighbouring communities a chance to view the portraits and make a donation to help those coming home from the Afghanistan war with lasting physical or emotional injuries. 

It was a busy two days but it was incredibly rewarding to see what the Portraits of Honour means to the families of the fallen, serving troops and communities in general. 

Local Kin Canada organizers explained that their ability to execute such labour intensive and potentially costly initiatives was possible only because of many generous sponsors and their dedicated group of volunteers. Each team member brought a different asset or ability to the table, from excellent organizational skills to perfect pancake batter. 

As we continue to travel down the road, we will take this lesson in teamwork and excellence from those who made the events in Saskatoon possible as we strive to be a team worthy of the honour of taking these portraits from coast to coast.