While many Canadians are still enjoying the last couple of hours of a restful night’s sleep, new recruits on Basic Military Qualification Course (BMQ) 0266 at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre (4 CDTC) in Meaford, Ontario, are dashing out for their early morning physical training at 6am.
An hour later, they’re racing to get showered-up in time to put the last polish on their parade boots before morning inspection at 8am. With a jam-packed course schedule from morning till well past dinner time, one would rightfully assume that spare time to fundraise over $2,800 for Soldier ON would not be easily achieved – but then again, achieving the impossible is what these future soldiers are trained to do.
The fundraising mission started back in mid June 2021, in the midst of the second provincial lockdown in Ontario, when Master Corporal (MCpl) Daniel Fraser did a long stare at his reflection in his bathroom mirror and realized that a haircut was past due. The shaggy hair, a style that would make any Regimental Sergeant Major cringe, sparked a fundraising idea in MCpl Fraser.
“Later that day,” explained MCpl Fraser, “I was sitting in the office talking with some of the other course staff mostly joking around about collecting donations to allow the recruits to shave my hair off, and that is when Sergeant Justyn Acaster said to me, why not? It’s a good cause. Do it.”
With the encouragement from his platoon, MCpl Fraser contacted Jamie Macintyre, a combat Veteran now employed as Soldier On’s Regional Coordinator, to collaborate on a fundraising campaign at 4 CDTC. Soldier On is a program of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) which contributes to the recovery of ill and injured CAF members and veterans by providing opportunities and resources through sport, recreational, and creative activities. Since 2007, Soldier On has supported over 6500 ill and injured members using sport and physical recreational activities to enable social support, build confidence in their abilities and realize their full potential.
With all the fundraising details settled by the end of June, MCpl Fraser approached the recruits on BMQ 0266 with his fundraising proposal. “I basically told the course about Soldier On at an orders group, and that if they raised enough money, the recruits could shave my hair off. My hope at that time was that the recruits would fundraise something around $300,” explained MCpl Fraser, “but what actually occurred exceeded everyone’s expectations by far.”
Back in their shacks, while prepping for the next day’s inspection and completing assigned homework, the recruits of BMQ 0266 were devising their own operation plan to fundraise as much as they possibly could amongst themselves. “We donated what we could from our pockets,” explained Private Recruit Chase Comeau. Over the course of a few hours, tens of dollars became hundreds of dollars, and by the end of the day, hundreds became thousands -$2,875.00 to be exact.
“It was something that we, as a platoon, became committed to doing. It was really a great way to build a sense of team camaraderie, and it also made us feel like we were doing something for our new military family,” said Private Recruit Zachary Brubacher. The impressive amount raised not only caught the attention of the course staff, but also the leadership at 4 CDTC. “I think they did a great thing,” said Major Robert Andrushko, the officer commanding Charlie Company. “It highlights the charity and generosity of a new era of recruit.”
Submitted By: Capt. Jason Gresel, Unit Public Affairs Representative, 4 Canadian Division Training Centre