HMCS Halifax visits Bonaventure Memorial for spring cleanup
By Ryan Melanson,
Members of HMCS Halifax haven’t spent much time on board their ship in recent months, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been taking it easy. The team has kept in touch and worked virtually as they prepare for their upcoming summer program, and recently, a group from the ship got out in the community to help clean up the area around the HMCS Bonaventure Anchor Memorial in Point Pleasant Park.
A small group of sailors from various departments, including Commanding Officer Cdr Chris Rochon, headed to the park on May 28 to freshen up the memorial, which honours Royal Canadian Navy members who died during peacetime while carrying out their duties at sea. As part of an agreement with the city, Halifax typically conducts spring and fall cleanups at the site, and sends personnel to tidy the area at various times through the year as required.
“We brought our rakes and our brooms and our scrub brushes and we got to work,” said LS Doug Williams, who took part in the cleanup. He said members raked and swept around the memorial, scrubbed the plaques that list the names of the fallen, and touched up the anchor itself with fresh paint.
He said he enjoyed getting together with his shipmates to help out with an important task, and added that he took pride in making sure the memorial was being kept in good repair.
“This is a monument to some of our predecessors in the Navy, people who went out and did the deed way before we did, and people who sacrificed their lives doing that. I think of them as heroes, people who stepped up and answered the call to serve, so it’s important to remember them and this is one way we can do that.”
Cdr Rochon called the day a success and said he was impressed to see his sailors take the task to heart and demonstrate an understanding of the significance of the memorial to the families, friends and former colleagues of the fallen, as well as the wider community.
He added that Halifax is excited to be getting back to business – the full crew planned to return to the ship and sail for workups on June 14, ahead of taking over the ready-duty ship role for a period later this summer. Cdr Rochon said he was proud of the innovative work of his team through the pandemic period, which will allow them to be ready to go, despite being largely separated since mid-March.
“There’s been a lot of challenges and interesting learning opportunities, using technology to bring our team together, and now we’re looking forward to getting back.”