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Turning grief into a helping hand


Youth participate in memorial ceremony for Cpl. Paul Davis

Many lives were changed forever on March 2, 2006, with the news that another Canadian soldier had died in Afghanistan.

This death hit home in Bridgewater where the father of Cpl. Paul Davis called home. Jim Davis received the news and his life has never been the same.

Jim Davis has taken the lessons that he learned on that day, 13 years ago, and turned his grief into the desire to assist families of military members suffering the same grief as he has experienced. He helps them through his involvement in a bereavement program through Veterans Affairs.

He has also come to realize, through speaking to young people, that their desire to remember the sacrifices of military members — both past and present — is as strong as it was when he was a young boy watching Remembrance Day ceremonies. This was very apparent on March 2, 2019 when a small ceremony was held to recognize the 13th anniversary of Cpl. Paul Davis’s death while on patrol just outside of Kandahar.

The ceremony was attended by Legion members from Bridgewater, members of 14 Construction Engineering Squadron, The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and several invited guests. The simple ceremony included the Legion members honouring Cpl. Davis with the Legion Act of Remembrance, followed by local pastor Paul Jensen who spoke about how young men and women have always answered the call to duty in defence of our freedom — with some never to return home. Jensen himself is the father of a Canadian soldier — always waiting for the word that his son has been deployed and could be in harm’s way, but also understanding that his training will carry him through.

The ceremony concluded with members of the Bridgewater Jr. High School Student Council attaching a yellow ribbon on the tree that stands behind the monument to Cpl. Paul Davis that was established several years ago to honour both the soldier and a past student of Bridgewater High School.

This year’s ceremony was also attended by a retired member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) who served with Cpl. Paul Davis and attended the ramp ceremony as Davis was repatriated back to Canada following his death. This was a moving ceremony for him, but also brought back good memories of his friend.

Jim Davis was very appreciative of the gesture to keep the memory of his son alive through the youth of today. The optics of a group of young students honouring another young man, taken far too soon, left an endearing mark on him.

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