It took some doing, but a project to specially honour Capt. Jonathan Snyder now has a firm date and time for the ceremony.
At 11 a.m. on June 4, Snyder’s family and friends will join Adrienne Clarkson — Colonel-In-Chief of Snyder’s regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry — members and officers of the PPCLI, veterans and the public at the Penticton Lakeside Resort to dedicate a monument and walkway in his name.
“There is a beautiful walkway between the hotel and the lake and that is going to be the walk,” said Brian Hughes, who has been behind the effort to bring the former governor general and her husband, author John Ralston Saul, to Penticton for the dedication. The monument proper will be situated along the walk between the main hotel area and the Hooded Merganser restaurant.
This ceremony marks the fifth anniversary of Snyder’s death in Afghanistan, and Hughes hopes to draw together friends, family and fellow soldiers. Snyder had also come close to death a few days earlier, on June 4, 2008; on patrol in Kandahar with Canadian and Afghan soldiers, the squad was pinned down and attacked on three sides. Snyder and the others managed to battle to safety and he received Canada’s second highest award, the Star of Military Valour, for his bravery and leadership under fire. Three days later while on a night patrol in Zhari, Snyder slipped into an unmarked irrigation well. Due to the weight of his equipment, he was unable to stay afloat and he drowned.
Finding a location for the monument proved to be a challenge for Hughes, after the city turned down his original concept because of conflicting protocols. When a place was offered on private land, Hughes jumped at the opportunity. Hughes said pulling it all together has become a community effort.
“David Prystay at the Lakeside stepped up and said let’s do it, Greyback construction is building the monument, Sherwood Trophies is doing the plaque and Cal Meiklejohn designed it,” said Hughes. “I am just a peon and these guys are doing all the work. It’s just fantastic that the community will step up.”
In the evening, there will be a fundraiser reception starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Bufflehead Tapas Room, with Ralston Saul and Clarkson. Proceeds from the $60 ticket price will be split between Raise-A-Reader, Penticton Rotary’s project to build a community kitchen at the Shatford Centre and PEN International, which Ralston Saul is currently president of.
“It’s a fundraiser under the auspices of the Community Foundation (South Okanagan),” said Hughes. Then at 7:15 p.m., we have a Philosophers Cafe in the ballroom.”
Hughes will interview John Ralston Saul for half an hour before opening the floor to questions. Then he will interview Adrienne Clarkson for half an hour and again, open it up to questions.
Tickets to the reception at the Bufflehead include free entry to the Philosopher’s Cafe, or you can purchase tickets for that event at $30 each. Hughes warns that tickets may be limited.
“There will be limited seating. It’s worth it to do the $60, because then you will have priority seating,” said Hughes. “It will be an amazing interactive night, you get to wine and dine, meet and greet and then you get the Philosopher’s Cafe and we can tackle questions like the CBC and that kind of stuff.”