Published on August 04, 2013
Sgt. James Butler, regimental veterans care co-ordinator with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, salutes while flanked by Agnes Bishop, mother of Sgt. Craig Gillam, (left) and Debbie Pinksen, mother of Cpl. Brian Pinksen, (right) during the plaque unveiling ceremony Saturday in Corner Brook. — Photo by Gary Kean/The Western Star
Published on August 04, 2013
Two plaques memorializing Sgt. Craig Gillam and Cpl. Brian Pinksen were unveiled near the Corner Brook Stream Trail in Corner Brook Saturday. — Photo by Gary Kean/The Western Star
The peaceful banks of the Glynmill Inn Pond are a far cry from war-torn Afghanistan.
But families of two western Newfoundland soldiers who lost their lives while fighting with the Canadian Forces in that country say it is an ideal spot to remember them. On Saturday, the family and friends of Sgt. Craig Gillam and Cpl. Brian Pinksen were joined by other well-wishers as the City of Corner Brook dedicated a pair of plaques in memory of the soldiers.
During the dedication, Mayor Neville Greeley referred to the tranquil setting on the south bank of the pond on the Corner Brook Stream Trail.
“I thought about how that must have contrasted with the chaos and the fear that surrounded our soldiers, especially the two we are here to honour today, as they went about trying to make the world a better place,” he said.
Sgt. Gillam, who was killed in action Oct. 3, 2006 at the age of 40, was from South Branch on the southwest coast. His mother, Agnes Bishop, resides in Corner Brook.
She said she could just see her son at the pond, watching the swans swimming and families enjoying the serenity of the area.
“This is great because it is in an area where everyone can visit easily,” said Bishop. “Anyone who didn’t know about Craig or Brian, they will now be able to come here and see.”
Overwhelmed at how her son and other soldiers who died serving in Afghanistan have been remembered, Bishop said she will likely visit these plaques almost daily.
It was also another emotional moment for Debbie Pinksen of Corner Brook, whose 20-year-old son died on Aug. 30, 2010 from injuries he had sustained days earlier in Afghanistan.
Still finding it difficult to talk about losing her son, she said she will regularly visit the latest memorial to him.
“It couldn’t be in a better place,” she said. “I was proud of him before, even before all of this, but I am so proud of him here today.”
The two plaques were donated by the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment based at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.
The granite stone on which the plaques have been placed was donated by Fillatre’s Funeral Home, while the landscaping of the area where the memorial is located was carried out by the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation.
The Western Star