The goal of Bravery Park is to create awareness of the roles our soldiers play both nationally and internationally. It is intended to inspire conversations and questions about our military. As we speak, our Canadian forces are stationed all over the world on various environmental and humanitarian missions. Some of these missions – like the current mission in Mali – will expose our Canadian soldiers to extreme violence, poverty, and utter devastation. When they return home to Canada they will need our support but we can’t adequately support them if we do not understand what they set out to accomplish.
When our soldiers returned home from Afghanistan they encountered a society that knew little of what they accomplished overseas. Although citizens knew about the violent and gory side the media liked to portray, they knew little about all our soldiers accomplished. For example, Canada helped establish 6,300 community based schools which provide education to approximately 184,000 students-80% are girls. Although the mission formally ended in 2014, Canada continues to assist in improving security, diplomacy and human rights and development in Afghanistan.
In addition to creating awareness of their service, our goal is to create awareness of their struggles. We lost more soldiers to suicide than we did to the mission in Afghanistan and the number continues to increase. More than 2000 veterans are homeless due to mental health issues as a result of their service. When we walk by a soldier we stop, shake their hand and thank them for their service. When that same soldier is sitting on the street corner with their hand out asking for help, we walk right by them. If we aren’t talking about our Canadian soldiers-they won’t talk to us and seek the support they need.
The playground, funded by the Amaranth Lions Club, was put in primarily to enhance the park as a destination for families and school trips-we want to educate youth on the roles our Canadian Forces play. The playground also provides a much needed active space for the hundreds of soccer families that utilize the Alder soccer fields all summer long.
2018: June-July -Playground & Dufferin County Cultural Resource Center installs Medicine Garden on site.
2019: May-June -Statue and Memorial Stone
Aug -Grand Opening
RESOURCES: Shannon McGrady, Chair-Bravery Park Committee
PHOTO TEXT: “McCully was a member of Canada’s elite Operational Mentoring and Liason Team (OMLT), responsible for training the Afghan National forces. On May 25, 2007 while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol near a village west of Kandahar city, McCully stepped on an improvised explosive device. Valerie’s son died not only trying to protect his country but training Afghan soldiers to protect their own.”