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  • Writer's pictureMartin Zeilig

GCWCC Toonie Walk and Run 2022

Decked out in a green and white Saskatchewan Roughriders football jersey and shorts, Colonel Aaron Spott, 17 Wing Commanding Officer, chatted with a couple of colleagues behind Building 90 just prior to the morning start of the 2022 Toonie Walk and Run on a sunny September 7.

Col Spott was one of over 150 participants, both military and civilian employees, at the start of the annual Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign.

The three kilometre walk and the five k run took place, as always, at the sports field and past the PMQs (military housing). Sean Kochalyk, a PSP fitness instructor, was the OPI. Dawn Redahl, PSP Sports Coordinator, led the heart thumping warmup prior to the walk and run.

The GCWCC is the largest and most generous charitable campaign in Canada, says the Government of Canada website. Every year, federal public servants and retirees raise awareness and funds to help the people and communities who need it most. Whether it is a friend, a neighbour or a community foodbank, your donation makes a difference. Supporting charities is a personal choice, so you can donate to the causes you care about most. Find out more on Getting to Know the GCWCC.

This year’s GCWCC theme is Walk this Way.

“It’s great to see everyone come out today,” Col Spott said to a reporter.

“As we come out of the pandemic a little bit, we’ll have to learn to live with COVID. We have to live life. This event is our kickoff event for the GCWCC, so it’s nice to see the participation of the crowd today and the representation from the critical and lodger units today.”

Luis Kiss, Sponsored Executive with the United Way, was one of the invited guests.

“I’m here because the United Way means a lot to me,” he said during an interview.

“It’s a way to help people out. Many people go through life with pain and sorrow. Personally, I suffer from PTSD. I’m a former member of the CAF. I was stationed on the HMCS Kootenay for three years, then I worked for Federal Corrections for 25 years. I saw many things that most people wouldn’t want to see.

“The United Way represents hope for me—to help people get their life started and forget their past. When you have PTSD like myself, you forget, to carry on, but you never really forget.”

The United Way sponsors 125 different organizations, such as 211— which is integrated with the 911 emergency telephone number, he said.

“It’s available to anybody,” Mr. Kiss added.

Meanwhile, Pat Strelic, who works at civilian human resources at Wing HQ, was enjoying the morning walk with two colleagues when a reporter caught up to them.

“I think it’s going to a great cause,” said Ms. Strelic, a longtime employee at 17 Wing.

“I’m really happy to be out with people today.”

Klay Wang, who also works at civilian human resources, remarked that this was his first time taking part in the Toonie Walk.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s for a great cause as well.”

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