Mr Michael Austdal, CD
This will be my last message to you as President of the PPCLI Association. I have been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010 and National President since 2015. It has been an extremely rewarding period and I am very proud of what the Association has accomplished over the seven years that I have been involved with the Board of Directors. The loyalty, dedication and hard work of all the Directors has been nothing short of impressive. I would like to acknowledge Matthew Brown who was Editor of the Association Newsletter for the past eight years and recently passed away. Matt you will be missed and God Speed, my friend.
During my tenure as President, we have continued to improve the charitable support that the Association and Hamilton Gault Memorial Fund provides to others. In 2016, we gave out over $41,000. Two areas, in particular, are worth mentioning. First, our support to PPCLI Cadet Corps continues to increase. The Association now provides PPCLI Cadets with their hatbadge and PPCLI Flashes. This year, five Cadet Corps will each receive $1,150 from the HGMF. The 2413 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp Esquimalt was rated the Top PPCLI Cadet Corps out of 11 and will receive an additional $1,000. Second, is our support to Student Bursaries. In 2015 and 2016 we awarded $13,000 and $16,000 respectively in Bursaries. In 2017, we will award a further $17,000. For those that are interested you will find further information on the Student Bursaries in this Newsletter. I encourage you to submit your application for a 2017 PPCLI Student Bursary by 15 July 2017.
Membership is constant challenge for the Association. In 2014, we had over 1200 members unfortunately we are now down to about 800. It is extremely unfortunate so many just joined for the 100th Anniversary. Regardless, I encourage each of you to reach out and encourage individuals to join the Association. Collectively we are stronger and can do so much more to help each other.
The 2017 National Annual General Meeting will take place in Niagara-on-the-Lake on 9 / 10 June 2017. At that time, a new President and Vice President will be elected, along with some new members to the Board of Directors. At the same time, we will facilitate a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Workshop. We are losing too many of our brothers and sisters to a silent killer, each loss is another stab in the heart and the pain that is causes to families and loved ones is profound. It my belief that we must address this issue and do our best to help those who are fighting personal demons. Each of us brings value and I encourage everyone to get involved at a Branch or National Level so the we can reduce the number of suicides. I would also like to thank John Hunter for his outstanding work in drafting the South West Ontario Healthy Soldier – Healthy Veteran Suicide Prevention paper. It has been very favourably received by both the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada.
In closing, I will remain involved with the Association as Past President and President of the Wainwright Branch. I wish the new executive good luck and I know that you will continue to preserve the Regiment’s history and look after our fellow soldiers.
Once a Patricia Always a Patricia