Candy Greff does not hesitate when asked what she hopes Lacombe’s newest war memorial will mean to others.
“Pride — in the work the people in the Armed Forces do every day all over the world,” said Greff, whose son Master Cpl. Byron Greff was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.
She would like to see Canadians offer their support to all of the men and women in uniform.
Candy and her husband Greg were among those who gathered in Lacombe on Thursday to get a first look at the LAV III light armoured vehicle that will become a monument to Canada’s Afghanistan mission and the 40,000 who served there in Fairview Cemetery’s Field of Honour.
“It’s an impressive machine, said Candy, “and I want, visitors, to be equally impressed with the job the military does in our community and in our world.”
Master Cpl. Greff, 28, was in the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and part of a NATO convoy attacked by a suicide bomber on Oct. 29, 2011.
Greff and 16 others died in the explosion.
“It’s been almost six years but it doesn’t feel like six years to us,” said Candy. “Byron was doing what he loved and what he wanted to do.
“Unfortunately, we lost him.”
The monument will be part of the Lacombe Days parade on July 29 and then immediately after will be transported to the cemetery. A ceremony is planned at 3 p.m.
Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie is a neighbour of the Greffs and paid tribute to the soldier in an emotional speech.
Greff is lovingly remembered by his family and fondly remembered by the entire community, said Christie
“The monument represents the incredible sense of pride we feel right here in Lacombe,” said Christie.
The Lacombe Royal Canadian Legion led the campaign that raised $65,000 to create the memorial.
Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins said the memorial was the “right thing to do.”
Canada’s mission in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 cost the lives of 162 Canadians, he said.
Lacombe’s Field of Honour is a fitting home for the monument.
“It will be there to mark the sacrifice, the courage and commitment of the men and women who serve our country. I couldn’t think of a better place for it.”
Canadian Pacific Railway transported the six-wheeled vehicle free of charge and numerous other residents and businesses made in-kind and cash donations.
The memorial version has been stripped of weaponry, engine, steering, communications systems and lighting. A plaque paying tribute to Canada’s soldiers is mounted on the side.