Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some Gave All: Maj. Michelle Mendes

[Padre Martine] Belanger described Mendes - "Mic" to her friends - as a person who strived to make life more enjoyable for those around her by baking cookies, making cards "or just being there when you needed a friendly ear.

"She always strove to do her best and was respected for her professional knowledge and work ethic," Belanger continued. "The world will be an emptier place without her presence."

Defence Minister Peter MacKay released a statement Friday offering his condolences to the Mendes family, who have asked for privacy but are expected to issue a statement of their own in the coming days.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time," MacKay said.

"The Canadian Forces continue to make an immense difference in the lives of Afghans while protecting and promoting both Canadian and international security. Despite our grief, we will continue our important mission to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan."

Mendes, who was serving in her second tour of duty in Afghanistan, graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2001, he added. "Her hard work and dedication will not be forgotten."

Mendes, who hailed from a small town near Colborne, Ont., east of Toronto, worked in the headquarters of the Canadian task force at the airfield, which serves as the principal base for most of the 2,700 Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of our lost comrade," Maj. Mario Couture said in a brief statement early Friday. "Our primary focus at this time is to provide the best possible support to the family of our soldier and to her colleagues."...(source)

Ottawa, Ontario

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, issued the following message on the death of Maj Mendes:

“While in Ukraine on a State Visit, my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and I learned of the tragic death of Major Michelle Mendes, based in Ottawa, Ontario, yesterday in Afghanistan.

“Every day, our soldiers serving there are put to the test, both physically and psychologically. The extraordinary dedication and immeasurable contribution are immeasurable. We are grateful to the women and men of our Canadian Forces who give so much of themselves.

“Canadians everywhere join us in extending our sincerest condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and comrades in arms of Major Mendes. Though we may be an ocean apart, know that our thoughts are with you.” (DND)

Rest in Peace, Major. Rest in Peace.

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