A Day to Remember
The morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, one of our own was honoured at the Field of Crosses sunrise flag raising. A crowd of 100 military, paramedic, police service, firefighter, school children and family members gathered with SAIT Paramedicine students to recognize SAIT EMT-P graduate Cpl. Michael Starker, of 15 Field Ambulance who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2008 at the age of 36.
SAIT Paramedicine students have been placing their poppies at the cross of their fallen companion for the past six years, meeting early in the morning at the Field of Crosses on Memorial Drive.
"This tradition invites students to pay tribute to soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom," says School of Health and Public Safety Academic Chair, Scott Fortier. "It also gives them an opportunity to honour Mike."
Lest we forget
Following the trip to the Field of Crosses, an intimate and heart-felt ceremony on campus unveiled a new memorial display for Starker.
The display also recognizes SAIT Paramedicine alumni and Distinguished Alumni recipients Tom Sampson and Ken King and SAIT's Outstanding Young Alumni recipient Adam Loria. Both Sampson and Loria were in attendance at the ceremony.
"To this day, members of the fire department, police service and paramedics all recognize Mike in the best way we know how," says Sampson, who worked with Starker. "We are thrilled he was honoured and will be remembered.
"It's great to see SAIT pay tribute to those who have gone before us - not only through a commitment to paramedicine care, but also a commitment to SAIT graduates, Calgarians, Albertans and everyone in the community."
Military history runs deep
SAIT has honoured men and women who have served for our country since our early days as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA), which was first managed by the Military Hospitals Commission and the provincial government. PITA's first class was attended by six Great War veterans who enrolled in the Motor Mechanics Program in 1916.
During the Second World War, PITA played a large role in training skilled workers as a part of the War Emergency Training Program and the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. On Sept. 1, 1940, PITA's regularly scheduled classes were moved off campus to house the Number 2 Wireless Training School for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
This Friday, Nov. 11 SAIT will be closed for Remembrance Day. Pick up a poppy to honour the men and women who have served for our country and check out the many Calgary Remembrance Day activities.