First annual 15 Wing Fellowship musical swing a success

Lisa Goudy
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Shoes were tapping as the Band City Band played the Second World War tune, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” on Saturday night.

The packed Timothy Eaton Gardens’ auditorium was host to the 15 Wing Fellowship’s first annual musical swing. It was a fundraiser for the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) at 15 Wing.

“We’re kind of the family’s first stop when they get somewhere. When you don’t know anybody, we’re the first place they come to and we try to build a sense of community around them and get them involved in the Moose Jaw community as well as the military community,” said Amy Blanchard, community integration and volunteer services co-ordinator with the MFRC at 15 Wing.

“We try to give the best of the community and get them involved with one another so they can make meaningful connections,” added Erin Dingwall, children and youth services co-ordinator with the MFRC at 15 Wing.

Blanchard said the fundraiser is important to help provide services to families and youth in the Canadian Forces. Some of the programs include childcare, deployment support, resume writing and second language training.

As a non-profit organization, donations are crucial to keep providing programs.

“For us it’s very humbling. We’re very honoured that they would do this for us and you never know year to year where you’re going to be at so every dollar helps,” said Blanchard. “It goes right back into the programs that we give to the military families … Essentially anything a family needs, we will try and help them with.”

Gord Johnson, one of the organizers and member of 15 Wing Fellowship, said he was pleased with the turnout of the event, which featured music by the Band City Band — which used to be a base band but is now community band — the Heritage Singers, Rhythm and Drive, Michelle Gallagher and James Winter.

He added the fellowship has been around for about three years.

“Our mandate is one where by we want to be of help to the base,” said Johnson “It’s mostly to foster good relations between 15 Wing and also between the community of Moose Jaw.”

He said the first project the committee did was to honour Lois Boyle, known as the “Mother of the Snowbirds” with the Lois Boyle Excellence in Community Service Awards, given to Doug and Cathy Marr.

He added every Canadian Forces base has resource centre. A lot of members of the Canadian Forces who have been through Moose Jaw at some point say they would like to come back and retire in the Friendly City, he said.

“There are a lot of armed forces people who are stationed at different bases and one of the things they say about Moose Jaw is it’s such a friendly community,” said Johnson. “That makes the relationship that much more important. So we want to do what we can in terms of cementing that relationship with the Military Family Resource Centre.”

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Organizations: Military Family Resource Centre, Canadian Forces, Community Service

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Timothy Eaton Gardens, Friendly

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