August 21: Strong Support in Spiritwood

As the Portraits of Honour caravan pulled into the tiny town of Spiritwood, led by a small contingent of local emergency vehicles, 5 RCMP officers stepped in front of the convoy and led the procession down Main Street marching on foot. The sides of the street were lined with townspeople who upon seeing the caravan pass began to follow behind coming to gather in front of the local church were the Portraits of Honour would be displayed. Local fallen hero Corporal Dustin Wasden had attended this church.  Before deploying to Afghanistan, Dustin stood in the same church where he received a special blessing and a farewell from members of his community. Many of those who saw him off with these good wishes gathered again today to remember a man who had been talkative, courageous and kind.

A close friend explained that when asked if he was scared to go overseas, Dustin replied that he was not.  He told him that he was committed to the cause no matter what, and was as committed as his grandfather who perished in World War II.  He said that he would willingly give all for his country if it were required. 

The impact of his commitment to country and community was evident today in the pride shown by those who came to view the portraits.  They came for Dustin and they came to honour his fallen comrades as they participated in an emotional ceremony and fundraising BBQ.

As we all gathered beneath the shadow of the church spire and the nearby pine tree dedicated to Corporal Wasden -- a tree that the congregation decorates each Christmas in his memory -- it was hard not to feel that his sacrifice will forever impact and inspire his community.  Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan, Wasden and his unit made an impact on the communities there and they surely inspired some of the innocent Afghan children that they protected.