An unforgettable day for Zack

Article / May 12, 2017 / Project number: 17-0125

By Simon Leblanc, Journal Adsum

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Valcartier, Quebec — When talking about courage, 11-year-old Zack Demers’s story is a remarkable example.

For the last year, this boy from the Québec City area has been fighting lymph node cancer. Since November 28, 2016, Zack’s cancer has been in remission.

During his ordeal, Zack, who loves the Army, received constant support from the members of the 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier. From surprise visits to Facebook messages and an encouragement video, you name it. “It’s partly thanks to them that my boy has made it through his cancer,” said his mother, Karine Kennedy. “It was such a great source of motivation for him.”

To recognize his courage and give him a chance to thank all those who encouraged him so much, the units of the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) rolled out the red carpet for Zack on  April 3, 2017.

Upon his arrival at the main gatehouse, Zack climbed into a military police patrol car and was driven to the military police station with lights flashing and sirens blaring. After giving him a tour, the military police included Zack in a scenario during which he got to catch a crook and lock him up in a cell.

Zack was then welcomed at the 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (430 Tac Hel Sqn), where first he met the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Carol Potvin. He had a chance to climb aboard a CH-146 Griffon helicopter and then take the controls of a CH-146 Griffon in the flight simulator.

The next part of his visit was at the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (3 R22eR), where he was welcomed by the various companies, including the parachutists, reconnaissance personnel and snipers.

After this fun-filled morning, the little family stocked up on energy in the Non Commissioned Members kitchen before starting the afternoon program at the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada. The armoured corps personnel proudly showed the young boy their new “toy”: the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV).

Next, Zack had a chance to have fun with a robot in the 5 Combat Engineer Regiment facilities. The engineers gave him a challenge: use the controls to make the robot fill up a glass of water, bring it back and pour it into another glass without spilling too much.

Lastly, Zack and his family were delighted to be reunited with the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment members who had visited him in the hospital. A ride in a Light Armoured Vehicle 6.0 (LAV 6.0) brought them into the lines of a 5 Service Battalion exercise at Lac‑à‑l’île.

“Everything was amazing,” exclaimed Karine Kennedy. “The day was all unforgettable memories for our entire family. Zack will remember it for the rest of his life.”

Zack’s mother would also like to thank 5 CMBG for their generosity, especially Sergeant Kevin McDuff, who organized this memorable day for Zack. Sgt McDuff, a member of 3 R22eR, and his partner, Master Corporal Korina Verreault, visited Zack several times during his illness.

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