Orangeville native and Afghanistan War veteran, Cpl. Wayne Strudwick, joined the Centre Dufferin District High School’s Canadian Battlefields Tour in November 2011. Dufferin County Council approved him as the 'sponsored-veteran' of the Dufferin County Museum & Archives (DCMA) for the purposes of the Battlefields Tour and ceremony at Juno Beach Centre. Below is a letter from Cpl. Wayne Strudwick to Dufferin County Council summarizing his experience during the 2011 Battlefields Tour.
Letter to Dufferin County Council from Corporal Wayne Strudwick
First, I would like to thank the members of Dufferin County Council for giving me an opportunity to briefly address you this evening. Unfortunately due to work commitments I was unable to be here in person however felt it was important to share some of my experiences as the Representative on the 2011 Battlefields Tour and emphasize the value that a project like this adds, not only to the Students, Staff and the Representative who attends but also the local community as a whole.
As a lifelong resident of Dufferin County and a Veteran of Afghanistan, to be chosen to represent your local community on such an amazing tour is truly humbling and to experience it with over 30 respectful, intelligent Students from a local high school is “icing on the cake”. By supporting the Battlefields Tour, you are acknowledging. Acknowledging the sacrifices that soldiers from Dufferin County both past and present have made, not only for their Country, but more importantly their community. Throughout the tour this point is driven home time and time again. To stand on the Beaches of Normandy and listen to the Students read personal stories of the sacrifices that Veterans of Dufferin County have made not only is emotional but can’t help but bring you extreme pride in being Canadian, and extreme pride in being a resident of Dufferin County! Witnessing students seek out the names of Dufferin County Veterans listed on the monument at Vimy Ridge or seek out a Grave stone at the Canadian War cemetery at Beny-Sur-Mer, France certainly gave me a great sense of pride in my community and I am quite certain that this feeling was shared by every student there. I could go on and on about crossing the English Channel, walking through the tunnels at Vimy Ridge, standing on the battlefield at Beaumont Hamel but unfortunately time will not allow me to do that this evening. My point being that this tour, the Battlefields Tour, is filled with moments like these and every one of them personally changing. By supporting a project like this you can take great pride in knowing that you are investing in the youth of your community and therefore investing in the future of your community.
In closing, I would like to thank Dufferin County Council for having supported me and all the students on the 2011 Battlefields Tour and I sincerely hope you continue to support a project that emphasizes what sacrifice for your Country and community truly means.