White Rock retiree makes remembrance plaques to aid son of slain soldier

WHITE ROCK — A local man is putting together a triptych of remembrance photos to honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier who was gunned down on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, and send proceeds to help the soldier’s now-fatherless son, Marcus, with a trust fund for his future education.

If you’ve heard the name Clifford Grant and the word soldier in the same sentence before, it’s because the White Rock resident spurred the Support Our Troops project back in 2007, which ended up going national with donations from corporations across Canada.

“I was very involved in doing things for our troops seven years ago, and that’s when I began to become aware of the importance of the Highway of Heroes,” Grant told the Now via phone.

Now, Grant is using photos of the Highway of Heroes for his remembrance project — a framed wall hanging of photos — that will benefit Cirillo’s five-year-old son.

“(The shooting) should not have happened,” Grant said of Cirillo’s death, which spurred the man to begin the charitable art project.

“[But] it did happen and I just feel that I have to do something, not for any external reasons, but just for personal reasons. When I became aware that he had a five-year-old son I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be the opportunity to put some money aside for his education.’”

Using his computer to put together the project, Grant said he thought he knew a few people who would be interested in purchasing the photos. With help from GS & Company, the framers on the project who are giving a discount on the professional framing of the pictures, Grant was able to keep costs at a minimum.

For $150, those wanting to purchase the project will get a custom-made wall hanging, with at least $50 going towards the trust fund for Marcus.

Photo: KEVIN HILL

Grant said that he will not be taking any personal gains from the project, but estimates that with supplies, framing and shipping, the remainder should be about one-third of the price.

“With this remembrance project, I see this as a way of Canadians being able to make a very specific, concrete contribution to a five year old in a tangible way that’s not boastful,” he said. “It’s just simply doing it from the heart.”

Grant said that he has a “soft spot for our troops,” although no one in his family has ever served in the armed forces. He said he came to acknowledge the Canadian Armed Forces in the most recent Afghanistan engagement.

“It came to a head with Afghanistan when I became aware of some soldiers from here who were assigned to Afghanistan and to hear some of their stories and to talk with their parents and hear of the efforts that our troops were putting forth and not being acknowledged,” he said.

“I thought, ‘Here we have good Canadians who are choosing to give to and they’re not really being acknowledged there,’ and I think as fellow Canadians we better make sure that the troops know that we acknowledge what they’re doing.”

Grant also said his shock and horror with the unexpected parliament shootings is another reason that he wanted to start a new remembrance project.

“All of us said these kinds of things don’t happen in Canada. Well, now they do and there’s nothing we can do about that,” Grant said.

“I’m very proud to be a Canadian… Part of my job as a Canadian is to say thank you to people who have somehow or other made living here better — not just for me, but for a whole bunch of people,” he said.

Grant is selling the remembrance triptychs for $150 if those purchasing plan to pick up their order, or for $190 if they want it shipped to their home. To place an order, contact Clifford Grant at 604-542-0170 or cliffordg@shaw.ca.

Twitter: @kristialexandra

kalexandra@thenownewspaper.com

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