NAC-O President's Update
September 20, 2021
Hello from not so sunny Nova Scotia. We are enjoying the last week of a visit “Down East” and are back in Dartmouth for a few more days with the family here. Our visit to Newfoundland was most enjoyable although the ferry crossing just after the passage of one of the many hurricanes this summer was a bit lumpy. Thus far we have slept in 7 different beds - ranging from sumptuous hotel rooms and comfy Air BnBs, to family cabins and bunks on the interprovincial ferry.
I will keep my comments this month to branch activities and business as I know that Richard Archer will be reaching out to me shortly for a few words for the Fall Edition of SOUNDINGS. The main message is that with COVID almost beaten (I hear the curve in Ontario is beginning to flatten) he Branch Executive is starting to move on some new activities, and we need some volunteers to assist with some short- and long-term projects. A few hours here and there would go a long way to helping our community and gaining a bit of recognition for the NAC Ottawa Branch.
Speakers’ Evenings/Fall Social Event
Our 4 October Speaker’s Evening promises to be very interesting event. Our guest speaker will be Mr. Peter Ward who was one of a group of former RCN officers who took it upon themselves to save HMCS HAIDA from the scrapyard in the 1960s. As most of you know, HAIDA had a storied career in WWII and the Korean War and was recently refurbished by Parks Canada and has since become the RCN’s Ceremonial Flagship. A veteran journalist, Peter knows how to spin a yarn and I am sure his talk will be entertaining. There will also be a special thanks for Peter for the close of the evening.
Please note that because the Bytown Mess is still not available this will be an online event again. Speaking of the Mess, recent information provided by the PMC indicates that given the age of the building the repairs are extensive and will go on into at least the late fall. As such we have foregone the Fall Social event, normally held in late Sept, again this year and I expect that the monthly speakers’ events will continue to be held online. In November we expect to hear from Commander RCN.
BOA Spring 2022/Fall Conference in Ottawa
Our Branch plans for a Battle of the Atlantic Dinner in the Spring are getting underway. Mark Watson and Ray Coutu have agreed to be Co-Chairs of the Planning Committee and will be dusting off the Coles Notes from the last dinner over the next few weeks. Plans for a Conference in the fall of 2022 are still in the formative stages.
Potential Branch Project
There is an opportunity for the Branch to participate in a restoration project here in Ottawa. Without letting the cat completely out of the bag, a local naval heritage site requires refurbishment, and the Branch has been asked to play a role, potentially in managing some of the financial aspects of the project. The NAC Endowment Fund may be involved. We need someone with project management skills and some free time to step forward. I think this could be done by an out of towner. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me.
As I have reported in the past, things continue to progress with completion of the Andy Carswell building at the old CFB Rockcliffe site. The residence is now almost at capacity and the library to which the Branch made some donations in the spring is being well used. Discussions are underway with the management as to how the Branch could provide further assistance through donation of some suitable clothing and outerwear. Again, this could happen if someone with a vehicle and bit of free time over the next month could step forward to coordinate the collection of the clothing items and help deliver them to the residence.
Branch Finances/SOUNDINGS by Mail
As a result of the lack of social (face to face) activities this year, the Branch Treasurer forecasts a small surplus in the coffers at the end of the year. That said, I want to ensure that we keep our expenses under control and stay “out of the red”, so to speak as things post COVID begin to open up. To that end we could save some money by reducing the number of paper copies of SOUNDINGS that we make available to members via Canada Post. I calculate it costs $5.32 for each of the 170 or so copies we put in the snail mail. If you are comfortable with reading SOUNDINGS online and want to do your part for the planet in reducing paper usage, please advise our Membership Director Gerry Powell at email@example.com and he will take your name off the mailing list.
Endowment Fund Candidate Submissions for 2022
I mentioned the NAC Endowment Fund earlier. The objective of the Fund is to promote and maintain interest in naval affairs generally and in particular in the development and promotion of a capable and effective navy for Canada. This is made more specific by a Statement of Purpose, which directs that the income from the NAC Endowment Fund will be deployed to:
- “Remember The Past” by supporting endeavours like to the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust (SACKVILLE), HMCS HAIDA, Naval and Military Museums, naval history projects, and naval monuments and other projects in keeping with the intention of remembering our Naval legacy.
- “Support today's Navy”, by promoting an awareness of, and interest in, the requirement for Canada's Naval Forces today, including capabilities, infrastructure and people, through education, such as supporting publication of NAC periodicals and other research material of an educational nature.
- “Build the Future”, by investing in our youth through the Navy League and Sea Cadets and The Maritime Awards Society of Canada.
In 2021 the NAC Endowment Fund disbursed $48,000 in grants, and the NAC Endowment Fund Trustees received requests for worthwhile projects totaling more than this sum. The Spring/ Summer 2021 Edition of STARSHELL summarizes the disbursements of the NAC Endowment Fund. I encourage NAC Ottawa members to make an annual donation to the Endowment, so that over time these disbursements may increase to meet the growing demand. NAC Ottawa members are also encouraged to identify and promote suitable projects for Endowment Fund grant proposals. If NAC Ottawa Members wish to nominate suitable projects for 2022, please contact your Endowment Fund Representative, Howie Smith at (613) 286-8555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As we look towards the end of COVID, the Branch is alive and well and I anticipate that we will be able to enter a “new normal” in terms of routine, later this year. Please consider how you may be able to help with some of the activities mentioned above and drop me an email or give me a call for some details on what’s required.