Society is finding new ways each week to honour our front-line workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sylvan Lake-based Veterans Voices of Canada is taking it to a whole new level this week with the Flags of Unity project. The campaign mirrors the Flags of Remembrance fundraiser the organization does each fall leading up to Remembrance Day where hundreds of Canada flags are flown along Highway 11 and Sylvan Lake’s shoreline. This time, the flags will represent Canada, including its 10 provinces and three territories, as well as the other 194 countries of the world. Flags will go up along Hwy 11 this Saturday, May 9. Half the proceeds from plaque sponsorships will go towards the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s current fundraising campaign for new ventilators. The other half will help Veterans Voices of Canada continue to put on its annual events to honour veterans in central Alberta and several other Canadian communities.
“My spouse is a Registered Nurse at Red Deer Regional Hospital. As she is essential and a front-line health care worker, I see the stresses put on her daily,” says Al Cameron, founder. “For several months I was dealing with radiation treatments for a recent bout of cancer. As my immune system was compromised, she was concerned and very stressed merely about coming home to me each day and the possibility of passing it on to me.” Cameron says it’s hard to fathom sometimes just how much health care workers truly do care.
“I see that most, if not all, give of themselves to the point where they are exhausted and in harm’s way,” he says. “It’s a work environment that takes a special kind of person to work in. For most, it is their calling, not a job, so how can I not make this tribute?” Each fall, the Flags of Remembrance is subject to varying levels of vandalism. Cameron wants folks to know that it doesn’t matter what you may think of a particular nation, the flags are not meant to be a political statement. “Each country will be represented, and the flags are in tribute to the good health care people within those countries who are giving or have given their lives literally to fight this virus,” he says. “We hope people understand this and leave the tribute in honour of them.”
To sponsor a plaque and flag, email email@example.com or visit the Flags of Unity Facebook page.