A shipment of lacrosse sticks, warm-up jerseys, balls and assorted New Westminster Salmonbellies paraphernalia arrived on the base last month. They got to open it Christmas Eve.
“They were really excited,” said Tracy Brown, a Burnaby resident who got it all started.
“It was the hockey players that got their hands on it first. Some of them had never tried it so they all had the T-shirts on and went out to the rink right away and started playing with it.”
Brown has a friend whose brother, Brent Vanover, is a rabid Salmonbellies fan stationed in Afghanistan. She hooked him up with Salmonbellies president Dan Richardson, who organized the shipment that took about two months to get there, having to jump several bureaucratic hoops and getting sent to the U.S. postal depot instead of Canada’s.
Here’s a lovely hint of a story to think about as we approach Christmas: when soldiers were posted to B.C. in 1943 to guard against a feared attack by the Japanese, New Westminster opened its doors and made sure every last one had a home to go to for Christmas:
Despite omnipresent danger, tasteless bully beef and hardtack rations in the field, and nearly dying of pneumonia one year, Christmas in the army was the only place Charles Goodman wanted to be in his youth.
Having left home in Saint John any lying about his age so he could enlist in 1943, the 15-year-old found joy and escape from unhappy family life in military camaraderie.
Sent to B.C. to defend against a feared Japanese attack during his first military Christmas, Goodman recalls the town of New Westminster opening its doors to feed and fete every soldier on the festive day.
That gives me some warm and fuzzies. It’s so typically New West.