OTTAWA, Nov. 1st, 2016 /CNW/ - David Flannigan, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, announced Mrs. Colleen Fitzpatrick as the National Silver Cross Mother for 2016-2017 earlier today here at Dominion Command.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick lost her middle son, Corporal Darren Fitzpatrick, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in the Zahari district, near Kandahar City on March 6th, 2010.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick was born in New Westminster, BC and raised in Vanderhoof, BC. She now lives in Prince George, BC with her sons, grandchildren and her husband Jim of 32 years.
As the National Silver Cross Mother, Mrs. Fitzpatrick will place a wreath at the National War Memorial on 11 November 2016 on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or a daughter in the military either in action or in the course of his/her normal duty. Throughout the year, she will also be called upon to perform other duties honouring the Fallen from all conflicts.
The Silver Cross was instituted on December 1, 1919 and was issued as a memento of personal loss and sacrifices on behalf of all widows and mothers who lost a child while on active duty in the service of their nation or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty.
Every year, Legion provincial commands and individuals forward nominations for the selection of a National Silver Cross Mother. These nominations are reviewed by a selection committee at Dominion Command and one mother is chosen for the year which begins on 01 November until October 31st of the following year.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick's husband, Jim Fitzpatrick, will be at the ceremony.
Mrs. Colleen Fitzpatrick
Colleen and Jim raised three sons Michael, Darren and Sean respectively. Colleen has worked in Human Resources for the past 15 years and is currently the Director of Human Resources for AiMHi – Association for Community Living, an organization that provides advocacy, support and services to people who have special needs.
Colleen's son Darren received significant blood transfusions upon arrival at Kandahar hospital. The incredible medical attention and blood donations received allowed him two additional weeks with his family before his passing. Since this time Colleen has become an advocate for blood donation working closely with Canadian Blood Services to develop a promotional video and blood donation campaign called "Remember the Power of Giving" for which she received a national award.
Colleen is also committed to her community and has volunteered in several capacities including Director on not-for-profit Boards and her professional provincial HR Association.
Colleen enjoys spending time at their summer cottage with her family, three young grandchildren and close friends.
Corporal Darren James Fitzpatrick
Corporal Fitzpatrick was a member of the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). Born in June 1988, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2006. During his tour to Afghanistan he was advance promoted to Corporal, working with the Operational Mentor and Liaison Team.
Corporal Fitzpatrick was mortally wounded after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in the Zahari District, near Kandahar City, Afghanistan on March 6, 2010.
Darren was a kind hearted passionate individual with a desire to help others. He was extremely close to his two brothers and was a most loyal friend. He enjoyed the comradery of the military and developed strong bonds with his PPCLI family.
The family has established memorial bursaries in their son's name awarded annually to students seeking careers with the Canadian Armed Forces.
The City of Prince George has dedicated a city park as a memorial and one of only two bravery parks in Canada titled the "Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park".
He was 21 years old and the 141st fallen soldier from Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
"Fitzy" as he was known by friends and family is remembered as a loving son, brother, loyal friend and a model soldier. He was an avid snow boarder, loved playing football but most of all enjoyed spending time with family and cousins at the summer cabin.
SOURCE The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command
Image with caption: "2016-17 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother – Colleen Fitzpatrick (CNW Group/The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161101_C3105_PHOTO_EN_802800.jpg
For further information: Bruce Poulin, at Dominion Command, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241, or by cell at (613) 292-8760, or [email protected]