Olympic Torch Relay February 7, 2010

Recently, one of our PacSigs personnel took part in the Olympic Torch Relay. Dave Munro partipated in the run at Hope, BC on the morning 7 February 2010. It sounds as though it was an emotional event for Dave. Here is his description of events:

"On the morning of Feb 07, I was on the Olympic bus waiting to be dropped off at the start position to carry the Olympic torch. I was thinking of my roots back in Newfoundland and my family, many who had travelled to Hope B.C. to be with me on this special occasion.

"I was thinking of our son Rob, he was diagnosed with cancer last year. Surgery was not possible in B.C. Fortunately doctors at the cancer clinic in Calgary said they could perform the operation. He was a young healthy man at the age of 43, 5'10" 185 lbs when the cancer struck. In six months a cancerous growth in is abdomen grew to a weight of 47 pounds. On Dec 6th we had a family Christmas for him. It is a miracle that he survived the cancer and now two months later he had travelled to Hope to be with us for the torch run.

"When I put the Poppy on the Olympic uniform my thoughts turned to our veterans. What an honour to be selected as one of the 120 veterans in Canada to represent our veterans at the torch run.

"My thoughts turned to the serving members today and the sacrifice they and their families are making on behalf of all Canadians. I joined the C.F. at 16. At age 19 I was serving in the Middle East, the first contingent of UNEF 1 Suez, Sinai and the Gaza strip. I thought of the 150 UN soldiers 50 of them CF personnel who gave their lives during UNEF 1 & 2. The 22 that did not return and are interned at the commonwealth grave yard in Gaza. I remembered the nine who were aboard the UNEF Buffalo aircraft that was shot down over Syria. I also, as an airborne soldier remembered the six airborne Para troops (four from two airborne signals and two RCR) who perished when they landed in the cold waters of the Ottawa River in 1967. It was very moving to see Bob Knipstrom at the ceremony. We were in airborne together and he travelled to Hope to support my run. The airborne brotherhood is strong. I also met other airborne troopers that are living in the Hope area.

"How fortunate that at almost 73, I am healthy and fit enough to have been able to run with the torch............"

Click thumbnails below for larger photo and captions.

Photos courtesy Bob Knipstrom

The fol article by reporter Sam Cooper appeared in The Province newspaper, Feb 8, 2010.

Runner to auction torch for war vets

CHILLIWACK - David Munro had a lot on his heart while running with the Olympic flame in Hope.

The Chemainus resident was thinking of his family, who'd travelled from across Canada to support him. He was thinking of his Newfoundland roots. And most of all, the 72 year old Canadian veteran, who served as a United Nations peacekeeper in the Gaza Strip, was thinking of fallen comrades.

As he prepared for what he called "probably one of my last missions" on Sunday morning, the fit and stocky senior with white eyebrows and bright blue eyes posed with his torch in pictures with Hope locals. Next, he ran his 300 metre relay leg through a narrow corridor of hollering Hope residents, finishing in front of Hope's municipal hall.

Before passing the flame to another torchbearer, Munro executed a Newfoundland-style jig as school children cheered.

"We left 40 UN guys buried in Gaza" Munro told The Province, his face flushed with emotion. "I was thinking of them and all the veterans and everyone serving in Afghanistan."

Now Munro is planning to auction his torch to raise money for a unique pilot project. In the past year, he has found a number of vets living on the streets of Victoria.

"The military is a culture you learn at a young age, and some people find it hard to transfer back to civilian life," he said. "These guys found it hard and ended up living on the street."

So far, he has placed six vets, all aged 40 to 50, in supportive housing. By summer, he hopes to grow the program and house 11.

Munro joined the Canadian Forces at 16 and was just 19 when he served in Gaza. He knows exactly how hard carrying military memories into "city life" can be.

As young soldiers, we saw things you shouldn't see," he said.

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