Strathconas lend a Skating Hand
By 2Lt Jon-Michael Courtney
On Sunday, 19 February, a Coyote crew, 2Lt Jon-Michael Courtney, Cpl Chad Humphreys, Cpl Benoit Sorel, and Cpl Mike Reid helped Canadian Tire of St.Albert in the Great Skate program at Lacombe Park. The Great Skate is part of Canadian Tire’s Jump Start Program, which is a community-based charitable program designed to raise money and help kids in need to have access to organized sports and recreation. Steve Boutilier and Palma Stolk, the event coordinators, from Canadian Tire of St.Albert turned Lacombe Park into an ice skating marvel with, of course, ice skating for all, non-stop hotdogs, pop, hot chocolate, and a huge music sound system for everyone’s ears.
It was a cold day, with a very unfavorable wind, but the many kids were too occupied with showing off their new found skating skills, or gasping at the sights of a Coyote Surveillance vehicle to not show the day’s chill. There were many other participants besides LdSH(RC); the local RCMP, the local Fire Department, and an Edmonton Eskimo by the name of Ron ‘Goldie’ McClendon were also sharing in the festivities. However, no matter how many flashing lights, loud sirens, or gold teeth they had, there is no substitute for a big cannon, eight big wheels, and cool thermal imaging systems. Even the local RCMP and Firefighters were too preoccupied with the Coyote, its crew, and its systems to show off their own vehicles. What was especially humorous that day was when two little brothers, who were wearing camouflage vests, wanted to know if the camera was powerful enough to zoom in on ‘Goldie’s’ gold teeth. 2Lt Jon-Michael Courtney proceeded to show the interested little army men if the surveillance equipment could in fact identify his gold teeth at 400 meters. It was difficult to determine which of his greenish black teeth were the gold ones, but the two brothers did laugh at how funny ‘Goldie’ looked in thermal while he was cooking hotdogs. The Coyote crew definitely had their hands full, but loved every minute of it, because no matter how you put it, it sure beat being in a Mud OP at 3 o’clock in the morning.
The Great Skate was a huge success; a smiling face was seen on every kid at the park. The appreciation from the Canadian Tire of St.Albert event coordinators and especially from the many parents was overwhelming and touching, and that is what makes sitting in a Mud OP at 3 o’clock in the morning all worth it.