The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be welcomed home on Monday with hearts so huge they can be seen from the sky.
The Snowbirds team is returning to their official home in Moose Jaw, Sask., on Monday at about 2:35 p.m. in a C-130 Hercules aircraft.
This is the first time the team will be back at 15 Wing since the fatal Snowbird crash in Kamloops on May 17 that claimed the life of Capt. Jennifer Casey.
Residents are being asked to “show their love” by displaying hearts throughout the city.
“The thought is, if they could look down as they’re zigzagging over Moose Jaw, they can see these little gestures that we’re thinking of them at this time,” said 15 Wing Hon. Col. Lisa Franks.
“I thought this would be a really good way to… show the Snowbirds and 15 Wing we support and love them in a way that’s not going to infringe on their way to grieve. To show our hearts are with them.”
Franks, whose role is to act as a bridge between the community and base, said people will be drawing chalk hearts in the streets and even using Christmas lights to create displays.
Moose Jaw police, fire and EMS are creating a static display of vehicles in the shape of a heart, and Wakamow Valley – which sits next to the base – will cut a heart shape into their grass.
“It’s so hard right now with COVID-19 and a lot of restrictions out there to come up with something. I think this is just a very important way that we can show our appreciation for what Operation Inspiration was about, and now turn it back to them and show our support to 15 Wing and all personnel,” Frank said.
With the encouragement Franks and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a large Canadian flag is being displayed on the sports field at Central Collegiate during the flyover.
Other ways to show love for Capt. Casey
Capt. Reverend Eric Davis of the 15 Wing Chaplain says the family of Capt. Casey is making a special request to those who want to honour the memory of their daughter.
In lieu of flowers, people are asked to support their local SPCA, plant a couple of trees in Casey’s honour or donate to a local food bank.
“If you are not in a position to do any of the above, please simply kick back on your deck, crack open a local brew and turn the volume up on The Hip in her memory,” said Davis.
15 Wing Chaplain is also requesting that any photos taken of the hearts across Moose Jaw are emailed to Sjamj@hotmail.com so it can put together a digital memory book for Casey’s family.