A week ago Monday, many Stettler residents lined up at West Stettler Park to take a look at the Portraits of Honour, a mural honouring the memory of the 157 soldiers who have died since Canada began its Afghanistan mission in 2001.
Leona Thorogood, the vice-president of Kin Canada Foundation and a member of the Portraits of Honour organizing committee in Stettler, was impressed with the high turnout.
Children who had seen the mural during a school visit in the morning came back with their parents in the afternoon to look at it again.
“I just think it was phenomenal,” said Thorogood, a Stettler town councillor.
At a special ceremony during lunchtime, artist Dave Sopha gave a speech explaining the efforts of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. He was followed by MP Kevin Sorenson, MLA Jack Hayden, County of Stettler reeve Wayne Nixon and Town of Stettler councillor Al Campbell.
Thorogood read letters from families of the fallen and had to pause many times because of tears blurring her eyes.
The Portraits of Honour organizing committee managed to raise more than $20,000 for the event.
“We will give the money to the Portraits of Honour tour,” Thorogood said. “The tour is endeavouring to insure that all the money that it possibly can go to, goes to the Military Families Fund.”
She was impressed by the generosity of Stettler businesses and residents.
“The fundraising barbecue was donated,” Thorogood recounted. “Somebody came up and filled the Portraits of Honour truck up with diesel before they left.”
The Portraits of Honour Canadian tour is scheduled to run until early December.