Sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) are being hailed for their humanitarian efforts in Vietnam last fall that included the revitalization of a centre for Agent Orange victims.
On Sept. 27, 2018, 24 sailors from HMCS Calgary and Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix got the ball rolling on an extensive revitalization project at Social Welfare Centre No. 3 for Agent Orange and Disadvantaged Children. The work included cleaning, painting, providing new furniture and toys, and teaching equipment for the centre located in Vietnam’s coastal city of Da Nang.
Colonel Jeff Drummond, Canadian Defence Attaché Singapore/Cambodia/Vietnam, facilitated the port visit to Da Nang by HMCS Calgary and Asterix, who were at the time deployed on Operation Projection. He acted as an intermediary between the sailors and centre to determine the scope and tasking of the project. Upon further discussion with the Director, Col Drummond realized there was more work to do: build additional classrooms for the children.
He had a conversation with Calgary’s Operation Chief, Chief Petty Officer Second Class Line Laurendeau that resulted in a quick solution. CPO2 Laurendeau, who supervised the ship’s outreach programs, offered up money to pay for supplies to build the classrooms from the ship’s Boomer’s Legacy funds. She then met with the Director and staff and helped them purchase the required building materials, while the centre arranged for contractors to perform the work.
In January, the centre held an inauguration ceremony for the new classrooms, which was attended by school officials, the Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul and embassy staff members. A plaque above the entrance to the classrooms unveiled at the ceremony pays tribute to sailors of the RCN and Boomers Legacy.