This Remembrance Day, Rose Hill Lane is honoured and privileged to share the story of one of our clients, Veteran Thomas Charnuski…
Following in the footsteps of his father before him, Thomas’s military service began at the young age of 17 when he enlisted and was stationed in Claresholm, Alberta. While in Alberta, he was tasked with the crucial responsibility of maintaining parachutes and ensuring the safety quality of the military’s aircrafts. For Thomas, his enlistment was not just a career choice, but a transformative life experience. The military turned him into a man; it’s where he learned to follow rules, learned the importance of discipline and structure, and most importantly, learned the importance of taking responsibility for himself and others.
Military life proved to be full of vibrance and excitement for Thomas. He fondly remembers attending as many hall dances as possible with his friends to keep themselves out of trouble. Claresholm is also where Thomas met his wife, Pauline, at Bill’s Coffee Shop. That being said, his time in the military was not always a carefree one.
In 1967 Thomas was stationed overseas during the Cuban Missile Crisis and vividly remembers the moment the United States threatened the Societ Union to withdraw their missiles in Cuba. Thomas and those on base with him at the time lived in constant fear and tension, unsure of what the future held. They remained on call 24/7, ready to take action if they were ordered to do so.
Military life is no easy feat, but Thomas’s unwavering dedication to his station allowed him to rise through the ranks, achieving the position of Warrant Officer. His final transfer landed him in Fort Erie, where he acted as a quality control assurer for Fleet Canada and Irving Air Services. Thomas dedicated a total of 42 years of his life to serve and protect our great nation.
Every Remembrance Day is an important occasion for Thomas to reflect and honour the service of his fellow brothers in arms. In particular, he is always deeply moved when thinking of the sacrifices of his three brothers who were dispatched overseas in WWII, one of whom returned with a severely life-altering injury. The sacrifices made by men and women like Thomas are not to be forgotten, and we should all take a moment to remember the significance of their sacrifices this Remembrance Day.
In Thomas’s words, let us “be a family, take care of each other.” Let us remember together and be grateful for the service of heroes like Thomas Charnuski. Let us remember to cherish our community and our legions for providing a safe space to learn about our history and the people who have served our nation.