December 15, 2012
Chapter continues tribute to military
LO volunteers show off their special T-shirts honouring the Ottawa Chapter’s Annual Day of Tribute.
By Martha Walsh

For the seventh consecutive year, members of the Ottawa Chapter paid tribute to the men and women of the Canadian military by donating their time and expertise at the National Military Cemetery Beechwood in Ottawa.

The Chapter’s Annual Day of Tribute took place on Fri., Nov. 2. A national heritage site since 2009, the cemetery encompasses 8.29 acres and four dedicated areas to those who died on active service, whose death was related to service, or who served honourably and chose to rest among their comrades in the sacred grounds.

This Ottawa Chapter event began in 2005 when Sharon Rouette-Urquhart of Green Unlimited wanted to recognize and pay tribute to our fallen soldiers and their families in the Year of The Veteran. Since that time, the Ottawa Chapter has helped maintain the burial grounds each year in advance of Remembrance Day.

Rouette-Urquhart expressed her feelings about the event, “I find myself continually impressed by the level of commitment that members of the green industry have in supporting a volunteer project such as this. I have had the honour of meeting and working with wonderful people who care for their community in any way they can. I see an earnest desire in those around me to show some appreciation for our Canadian soldiers and their families, so I am very pleased to be able to take part in coordinating this project.”

This year the event had a new chairperson, Pete Campbell of Geosynthetic Systems. Campbell is a retired Chief Warrant Officer of the Canadian Forces. “I heard that a new event chairperson was being sought and immediately I wanted to get more involved. Last year was my first year participating. As a retired member of the Canadian military, I wanted to give back to my community and honour a past that I had participated in with first-hand knowledge of serving our country. The Chapter has once again given back to their community, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Sending thanks and participating in this year’s opening ceremony were Warrant Officer Sylvain Picotte, National Military Liaison Officer;  Dominique Boulais, Deputy Secretary-General, Canadian Agency Commonwealth War Graves Commission; and Roger Boult, Chief Operating Officer Beechwood Cemetery. Also in attendance to bring greetings and thanks was Ottawa Chapter president Chris Burns and Landscape Ontario director of public relations Denis Flanagan.  

Chris Urquhart of Green Unlimited, who has participated in this event since its inception, said he continues to participate because, “I am especially proud of this Day of Tribute, started by my wife Sharon. As members of the green industry, we know how to care for landscapes. And, there is no better way for us to respect and to give back to those who have given their lives for our freedom than to care for their place of rest. It’s also good for their families to see that we care for their sacrifice. From a business point of view, it is a great team building exercise and all of my employees feel very good about having a chance to give back as well.”

The Chapter offers special thanks to Bradley’s Insurance for sponsoring morning coffee break and Norleans Technologies as lunch/event sponsors.  

Pete Campbell offered special thanks to  Sharon Rouette-Urquhart for all of her voluntary efforts, and all of the local Ottawa Chapter members whose continued yearly presence at this event ensures the continuing success of this worthy event.