By Corporal Richard Wagner

On Saturday, September 14th, 2013, members of A Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), and Force on Force Tactical held a charity Air Soft event, named Operation VALOUR, at Grunts Paintball Field just north of Morinville, AB. The goal of this event was to raise money for Valour Place Charity.  Valour Place is a temporary home away from home for all Canadian Force members, Families of the Fallen, Veterans, and RCMP along with their families who require medical treatment in Edmonton.

The event’s main organizers were Scott Collacutt, owner of Force on Force Tactical and Grunts Paintball, Corporal (Cpl) Andrew Phelan, Cpl Jeremy Dunford, Cpl Richard Wagner, and Captain Karl TamsScott Collacutt was a major driving force behind the event, as he and the Strathconas mentioned above spent hours of their time planning, preparing, and coordinating the event details, such as getting the playing field ready, attracting media coverage, coordinating vehicles (two BV-206 tracked vehicles and a Land Rover), and obtaining numerous donations for raffle draws.

Operation VALOUR generated a lot of buzz from the community, media, and other Air Soft vendors (some as far away as Red Deer) – all of whom wanted to be a part of the event. Squadron Sergeant-Major Warrant Officer Marcel Chenier drove his Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) to the event and set up a very successful canteen.  Master Corporal Derek Murdoch, Cpl Arthur McKenzie, Cpl Jeff Hayes, and Cpl Ryan Blacklock helped run the canteen selling burgers, hotdogs, pop and copious amounts of much needed bottled water.  Approximately 150 people attended the event.  Donated items for raffles included three military prints, a chop saw, Air Soft guns and gear, gift certificates, car kits, a drill, and bath soap for the ladies.  CTV news sent a camera crew, who filmed the action from inside the BV-206 during the intense game play.  Cpl Tristan Mosher’s epic gun battle involving a “million dollar wound” even made it on CTV’s News At Six.

After a long afternoon, from which the Good Guys prevailed over the Bad Guys, the Air Soft mayhem ended and the last hotdog was consumed. When it came time to tally up the proceeds raised, Force on Force Tactical and LdSH(RC) raised a grand total of $5,300.00 for Valour Place Charity, exceeding the expectations of all parties involved. A couple of days later, Scott Collacutt, Mr. St-Onge (from Valour Place), and a number of Strathconas, including the Regimental Second-In-Command Major Mike Onieu, presented the fundraising cheque to Valour Place in front of the Harvey Building.  When the author was asked, “Where do we go from here?” The quick reply was, “The sky is the limit.”  For those who missed out on this year’s exhilarating event, Op VALOUR will return bigger and better next year.

For more information on Valour Place, or if you wish to make a donation, please visit their website at: http://valourplace.ca/