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First Responders Appreciation Night: Paying tribute and taking time to remember

In photo: Longtime legion member Hanke Kyle alongside team captains Dylan Thiessen of the Oil Caps and Griffin Chwaliboga of the Natives.

This past Friday night, prior to the contest between the Neepawa Natives and your Oil Capitals, the Virden MJHL club paid tribute to all first responders, including the Wallace District Fire Department and surrounding departments, Virden and area RCMP as well as all local EMS members.

With respects to Remembrance Day, the Oil Capitals also took time to remember those men and women who fought and died protecting our rights and freedoms.

During the pregame ceremonies, the club acknowledged Clare Cawston, who was represented by long-time legion member Hanke Kyle.

Cawston was born in Kelwood back in 1925, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in August 1943 and was first posted to Edmonton for depot training before being sent to the No. 20 Pre-Aircraft Education Detachment in Saskatoon.

Cawston was then sent to No. 8 Repair Depot in Winnipeg where he was released from the Royal Canadian Air Force. He would later be rushed to Deer Lodge Hospital for acute appendicitis – and his call from the army arrived before the end of his sick leave for which he reported to the Osborn Barracks in Winnipeg. Cawston was then sent to Camp Borden, Ont., to be trained for the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. When the war ended, he was still at Camp Borden awaiting an overseas posting. He has been a member of Virden Legion Branch No. 8 for 62 years.

The Oil Caps also had a moment of silence to honour a dedicated first responder who passed away last week.

Cst. John Davidson, from the Abbotsford Police Department, passed away in the line of duty.

Cst. Davidson worked as a police officer for 24 years and began his law enforcement career in the United Kingdom working for the Northumbria Police from 1993 to 2005. On March 3, 2006, he was hired by the Abbotsford Police Department. Davidson was a dedicated police officer who devoted so much of his time to connecting with the community and helping kids.

Cst. Davidson is survived by his wife and three adult children. He was 53 years old.

The club also welcomed Michelle Gervin to perform the last post, while Erin Poole sang the national anthem – all the while, two local cadet members from the XII Manitoba Dragoons Cadet Corps were on hand to salute.

All in all, a great night at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.