President Sandy Dreger welcomed everyone to the meeting. She reminded members that Christmas party tickets were for sale at the back of the hall. Sandy thanked members for filling out the updated waiver and emergency contact form. Director at large Jim Belair's work in developing the forms was acknowledged. If information changes it can be updated online or by contacting membership Director Ron Watson.
People who have asked Nancy Watson to hold tickets or who wanted to purchase them online need to be in touch with her as the online ordering is currently out of order.
Jane Kelliher and Cheryl McMahon were congratulated on the excellent Scavenger Hunt this past Sunday. It was a huge success. The winners were Robin Pearson, Vicki Matthew, Phil and Marie Morck and Lindsay Sparkes.
Steve Hill introduced this month's program by recalling that when he was in Holland this past summer travelling with his son they were very impressed by the roadside memorials and cemeteries and the sobering experience of viewing all of the endless graves of the young men who gave their lives so we could enjoy our current lifestyle and freedoms.
Members enjoyed musical selections performed by The Military Wives Choir, Comox. This choir is one of the fourteen non auditioned military wives choirs in Canada. Directed by Wendy Nixon Stothert, its aim is to support women in the Canadian Military with comradeship through music.
Our guest speaker was Jon Ambler OCC CD. His topic was Peacekeeping Myths and Realities. Born in England in 1955, Jon immigrated to Canada with his family in 1964. Following school, Jon joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1978 and qualified as an Aircraft Navigator, specialising in Long Range Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare
He served in a variety of staff appointments and commanded the Canadian Contingent of a non-UN peacekeeping force in Egypt’s Sinai Desert from 2003-2004. Upon returning to Canada he was appointed Wing Commander of 19 Wing Comox, the RCAF’s only station in BC. He retired from the Air Force in 2007. Following retirement he was the Manager of the Comox Air Force Museum for over 10 years, and he also served as a Courtenay City Councillor for two terms. He and Jill, his wife of 42 years, are both fully retired and live in Courtenay.
The talk was a very thought provoking description of what Canadian soldiers have faced during Peacekeeping operations and wartime. He described the transition from Peacekeeping to Peacemaking and the ambiguities and dilemmas that can cause serious problems in the aftermath. It can psychologically destroy the members of the military who found themselves caught up in these conflicts. Peacekeeping only works if both sides of a conflict want an end to the conflict. Currently Canada is often asked to provide skilled military personnel to areas of conflict. He reminded us to be proud of our sons and daughters who put themselves in harm's way on our behalf. Sandy thanked him for his challenging presentation.
Nancy Watson provided the tickets for the monthly draws. The winners were Laurie Marttz, Bev Oyler, Gary Lucas and Brenda Olenik.
Lael Popham advertised a sale of items including scarves, embroidered linens and other treasures from their time living in China. The sale is from 2:00 to 4:00 at Berwick House on November 21. All proceeds will be donated to charity. No item priced over $20.
Sandy thanked everyone for coming and extended special thanks to Donna and her helpers in the kitchen and said she looked forward to seeing us all at next month’s meeting.