Cooperative Funeral Home honouring fallen soldiers
Whether it's the life of a well-known community member, a senior citizen who spent their life in Sudbury or a young life gone too soon, the Cooperative is there to lend a caring hand.
They are also there for Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan.
In light of the local organization's 60th anniversary, they are paying tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives to enhance those of people in the south-central Asian country.
“We have to support our soldiers,” said Daniel Johnston, general manager of the funeral home. “That's not really a choice.”
To pay tribute to the 158 fallen soldiers, the local funeral franchise is erecting a monument atop the hill that overlooks Lasalle Boulevard.
Johnston said it will be the first permanent structure in the country to list the name of everyone who paid the ultimate price.
The names will be etched in stone, facing a massive Canadian flag that can already be seen waving outside the Georgian mansion.
“It's going to be gorgeous,” Johnston said.
A ceremony will be held to unveil the monument Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. Families of fallen soldiers from Sudbury are invited, as is the community.
Dr. Ray Wiss has been named Master of Ceremonies at the unveiling. Wiss served in the Canadian Forces as an infantry officer and later as a medic in the Forward Operating Bases, spending more time in the combat area than any other physician since the Afghan mission began.
“Dr. Wiss would have held some of these people as they lost their lives,” Johnston said.
While it will be a solemn occasion, Johnston said the purpose of the monument is to “celebrate the lives of these soldiers.”
“We are trying to draw attention to the fact these people didn't come home,” he said. “It's unfortunate, but freedom isn't free.”
The funeral home, which is truly a cooperative in every sense of the word, was officially incorporated Oct. 17, 1951.
“The Honourable George Arthur Welch, secretary of the province, signed the Letters Patent to form the company that was to bear the name Co-Operative Funeral Home of the District of Sudbury,” the co-ops historical background states.
It was originally located on Beech Street, but moved to Lasalle to accomodate more people. In 1969, it opened a second location in Chelmsford, then a third in Hanmer in 1994. The co-op originally catered to French Catholics, however, it now services the entire city.
For more information, visit www.cooperativefuneraire.ca.