The dignitaries before the ceremony, from L-R: Afghan Ambassador to Canada Jawed Ludin, Grand Chief Ron Evans, Senator Rod A. Zimmer, Mayor Sam Katz, Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill, and Col. Robert Poirier.
Written by Paula Emond
Director of Communications and Public Relations
for Pillows for Troops
JS Furniture Gallery, 1725 Ellice Avenue, is the official headquarters for a unique initiative called Pillows for Troops. The founder, John Lopes, Vice President of JS Furniture Gallery, began this mission in memory of his dear friend Cpl. James Hayward Arnal who worked for him for 3 years before enlisting in the Canadian Forces.
The founding partners; JS Furniture Gallery, Natura World, CJOB 68, The Winnipeg Free Press, City of Winnipeg, Envisage Design Group, Destination Winnipeg, and WA Print Management were brought together, not by coincidence or by chance, but by a mutual respect for what each partner brought to the table. It is also because of their deep appreciation and reverence for what the military does for our country. This journey has taken us all down a path more powerful then what could have ever been imagined.
A memorial event was formally launched Friday, November 20th @ 12:18 p.m. outside the JS Furniture Gallery. Barry Burns, CJOB 68 on-air personality, Retired Lieutenant (Navy) and President of the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba, was the Master of Ceremonies. He began by sharing a touching story from a letter which questioned Cpl. Arnal about what his birthday wish would be. James replied “a moment of silence for all my fallen comrades.” At 12:18 p.m. that day, his wish was fulfilled.
Those gathered for this event were addressed by His Worship Mayor Sam Katz, John Lopes, Attorney General Andrew Swan, Senator Rod Zimmer, Grand Chief Evans, His Excellency the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Canada Jawed Ludin, Chief Keith McCaskill, Colonel Robert Poirer, Councillors Russ Wyatt and Harvey Smith, Natura World Communications Director and one of the founding partners, Julia Rosien, Wendy Hayward James’ Mother, and JS Furniture Gallery’s President John and Maria (Lita) Salguerio.
A beautiful wreath was presented by Mayor Katz and John Lopes to Wendy honouring her son James, as well as, a special gift was given by Abdul Hamid Jawed on behalf of the Afghan community. The ceremony was followed by a luncheon for everyone in attendance.
Paula Emond, Pillows for Troops Director of Communications and Public Relations, on behalf of the Foundation, accepted generous donations and support from the following friends and business associates: Mario Santos (Portuguese Association of Manitoba), John and Mable Carcea (S&J Construction), Joe & Silvano Paletta (Paletta Group), Russ Wyatt and Harvey Smith (Councilors of Winnipeg), Joe Diogo and Jim Kussy (J & J Canadian Grants), Larry Macintosh (Peak of the Market), James Palmer (Electrolux Canada), Pearless Garments, Darryl Schmit ( Natural Rest Bedding), Mark and Christine Worley (Perimeter Air) and CJOB 68, Molave Publishing (Filipino Journal)
The “Pillows for Troops” campaign is well on its way to reaching its goal of 5000 pillows being shipped to Canadian Troops serving in Afghanistan until the end of 2011. Each pillow costs only $5.00 and will include a postcard with a handwritten message from the person(s) who bought the pillow. The first shipment will be accompanied by John Lopes and James’ Mom, Wendy to Trenton, Ontario in December. They will be shipped from there to Afghanistan. Pillows can be purchased at JS Furniture Gallery, CJOB 68 or online at www.pillowsfortroops.com
From our hearts to yours be safe, be well, and to the soldiers of our country - Thank you.