The Royal Canadian Mint has announced that proceeds from the sales of its Highway of Heroes silver commemorative coin have raised $100,000 each for the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial Fund and the Military Families Fund. The donations were presented in early April at a special ceremony at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial. “The Royal Canadian Mint has a proud tradition of issuing coins that honour the brave men and women who fought for Canada and at times gave their lives in defending our freedom,” said Ian Bennett, master of the Royal Canadian Mint.
“The Highway of Heroes silver commemorative coin captured the profound gratitude of Canadians to our soldiers who served and fell in Afghanistan, and the Mint expresses our thanks to them, as well as to all our active Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families.” “Thousands of ordinary Canadians became extraordinary Canadians by lining the route of the Highway of Heroes, from Trenton to Toronto, to voluntarily salute our fallen soldiers coming home from the war in Afghanistan,” added John Williams, mayor of Quinte West and chair of the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial Fund committee. “We are delighted that the Royal Canadian Mint has joined the many donors to the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial Fund so that the communities surrounding the starting point of the Highway of Heroes could build a permanent and exceptional memorial.”
Commodore Mark B. Watson, director general of Personnel Family Support Services, was also on hand for the ceremony. “The Military Families Fund has assisted almost 1,000 families in their time of need and the RCM’s past support of the fund has been deeply appreciated by the Canadian Armed Forces,” he said. “Today’s donation from the Mint will continue to remind our military members and their families that their sacrifices are deeply valued by Canadians.” The Highway of Heroes commemorative silver coin was unveiled in Trenton in 2011. The coin features an overpass along the Highway of Heroes as viewed from the perspective of the mourning family as they accompany their lost loved one along the route, as well as a Memorial Cross, commissioned after the First World War by King George V for presentation to the loved ones of fallen soldiers.
The coin was available for sale until Dec. 31, 2012, with $20 from the sale of each coin shared between the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial Fund and the Military Families Fund. Dedicated and unveiled on Nov. 10, 2012, the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial is a permanent monument honouring Canadian soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the war in Afghanistan. The entire project is being funded solely through the Give To Honour Those Who Gave Campaign. Located in Trenton’s Bain Park on the Bay of Quinte and with Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Canada’s largest airbase nearby, the memorial design was selected from many entries and designed to be reflective and contemplative in character and harmonize with its surroundings.
Within the memorial’s circular form, two granite benches provide seating for those who come to reflect and enjoy the peace and beauty of the memorial site and park, which is open year-round. The Military Families Fund was created in 2007 by Gen. Rick Hillier, the former chief of defence staff, to assist military families faced with unforeseen and often immediate needs that have resulted due to conditions of service.