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MWO Plesh honoured by the Toronto Blue Jays at a Saturday Salute during a recent game at Rogers Stadium

By Martin Zeilig

 

Master Warrant Officer Mavis Plesh, the Deputy Wing Lessons Learned Officer, has had many “highs”, as she says, during a “rewarding and exciting” 38-year career (and counting) with the Royal Canadian Air Force.



But, being honoured, along with several other members of the CAF, during a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game at Rogers Centre Stadium on June 1, 2024 ranks right up there as one of those highlight moments.

 

“It was exciting, touching and memorable,” MWO Plesh said during an interview with the Voxair on June 11. “I’ll never forget it.”

 

“For the twelfth year, the Toronto Blue Jays have once again included the Saturday Salute CAF Recognition Program in its 2024 calendar of events,” noted advance information from the CAF.

 

“This program will see the Toronto Blue Jays honour one deserving CAF member during an in-game presentation at every Saturday home game of the regular season, 13 Apr – 28 Sep 2024.

 

“The intent of the CAF Recognition Program is to publicly recognize members for outstanding achievements and contributions to the institution and their community. This is a high-profile platform which provides visibility by recognizing highly accomplished CAF members with a minimum of 8 years of service.”

 

MWO Plesh, who was born in Kenora, Ontario, joined the CAF on 29 May 1986.

 

After completing Basic Training in Cornwallis, NS, she travelled to Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE), Kingston to complete her Performance Oriented Electronics Training (POET) and QL3 training as a Terminal Equipment Technician, notes her bio.

 

After trade amalgamation in 1996, MWO Plesh became a Special Information Systems (SIS) technician. With trade rationalization in 2000, she became an Aerospace Telecommunication and Information Systems (ATIS) technician.

 

MWO Plesh transferred from the Regular Force to Primary Reserve in 2022.  She has completed tours at CFS Alert (1999), Op Archer - Camp Mirage, UAE (2006), Op Athena - Kandahar, Afghanistan (2010), Op Unified Protector - Poggio Renaticco CAOC, Italy (2011), Op Impact – Kuwait / Iraq / Qatar / Bahrain / Lebanon / Jordan (2021 and 2023).

 

Throughout her career, MWO Plesh has competed in several CF Women’s hockey championships and completed numerous half marathons, including undertaking several challenging months of training runs through the Italian countryside in preparation for the 2012 RCAF Run in Winnipeg.

 

MWO Plesh points out that her Chain of Command nominated her for the CAF Recognition Program.

 

“It was put into a vetting process and then I found out that I was chosen a few weeks before game,” she said over coffee in the Voxair office.

 

 “Several other CAF members from across Canada were recognized too. The CAF provided the flight for me and one night’s accommodation,” she said.

 

“I flew my husband down to Toronto and we stayed an extra night in there, so we could have a mini vacation. We stayed at the hotel connected to Rogers Field.

 

 

“I showed up at the stadium a couple of hours before the game, and went down to the batting practise area and met some of the players and staff and Buck Martinez, the television colour commentator for the Blue Jays.”

 

Martinez played 17 years for three different Major League teams, including the Blue Jays. He was manager of the Blue Jays from 2001 to May 2002, notes Wikipedia.

 

“Then, I went up to my seat for the game,” MWO Plesh said.

 

In between the third and fourth innings, the CAF members were shown on the Jumbotron, she added.

 

“They showed my official photo and a live shot of me with information from my bio. I waved to the crowd and everybody cheered.”

 

MWO Plesh was allowed to have six tickets by the Blue Jays.

 

Apart from her husband, Tom, she also invited her twin sister, Maureen, and three other members that she deployed with over the years. The trio of CAF members she invited are all in Toronto: Sergeant Sheldon Webb, soon to become a Lieutenant; Captain Elizabeth Sung, a financial officer; MWO Glenn Fraser, the regimental Sgt Major at 4 Division.

 

“I was originally supposed to get one Blue Jays jersey with a number that I has specified, but when I got down to batting practice they presented me with two jerseys, including the dark blue jersey,” MWO Plesh, who, with her husband, has four adult children, said.

 

“Each of the people with me received a Blue Jays’ ball cap.

Blue Jays members were curious about my history with the CAF. It was quite nice to be with them.

 

“Buck Martinez spoke about his family members in the U.S. who had served in the military. He showed me photos of his mother’s gravesite, and how they had decorated it up for Memorial Day.”

 

Although the Blue Jays lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, she enjoyed the game.

 

“It was thrilling to be there with the big crowd,” she stressed.

 

She even had fans approach her requesting taking selfies on their smart phones with her.

 

“They discussed their own family members who had served in the CAF,” MWO Plesh commented.

 

“I had a great time.”

 

She was at the old ball game!

 

 

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