Greff for 2017 National Silver Cross Mother
Master Cpl. Byron Greff, from Lacombe, was the last of 158 Canadian soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan. Lacombe residents are looking to make his mother, Candace Greff, the National Silver Cross Mother for 2017. (Photo Submitted)
A letter-writing campaign has been launched to name Lacombian Candace Greff as the 2017 National Silver Cross Mother.
The Silver Cross, or Memorial Cross, is awarded to mothers and widows of Canadians killed in active duty, while the National Memorial Cross Mother is chosen by the Royal Canadian Legion to represent mothers of Canada at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa.
Greff’s son, Master Cpl. Byron Greff, was the 158th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan on Oct. 29, 2011 during a suicide bomb attack aboard an armoured bus in Kabul. His death would be the last in Afghanistan and is still felt in the community.
Arnie MacAskill, the Lacombe Legion member behind the initiative, says nominating Greff has been something he’s thought about for awhile.
“I know every year there’s a Silver Cross Mother picked from across Canada each year, so I thought why not have the silver cross mother come from Lacombe,” he said.
“The Greff family is deserving of that honour, so I just got the idea going and it’s progressing pretty well.”
So far, he’s gathered around 60 letters, and has heard both Lacombe Composite High School and another school in Clive are doing their own letter campaigns and he hopes to gather at least another 100 more.
Should the campaign succeed, Greff will be the first Albertan given the honour since 2008, when Avril Dianna Stachnik from Waskatenau, Alta. was chosen.
MacAskill says Greff has a heart of gold.
“It’s hard to speak for the other people. I just know Candace. Her and (her husband) Greg are legion members,” he said.
“She’s just the kindest, warm-hearted person I’ve met. She’s always there for anything you need and always willing to give a helping hand. To go through a situation such as losing a son...she’s still there for everyone. She’s a giving person.”
The Greff family and Master Cpl. Byron Greff’s sacrifice has been commemorated through the naming of Master Cpl. Byron Greff Memorial Hall at the Lacombe Legion Branch No. 79, as well as the future Aghanistan Memorial project featuring an LAV III monument to be placed in the Field of Honour, which is Greff’s final resting place.
Letters of support should be addressed “Attention, Mr. Danny Martin.”
Letters can either be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 24 Cedar Close, Lacombe, Alta. T4L 1P5 or dropped off at the Lacombe Legion Branch. MacAskill asks that letters be in by April 21,2017 so that he can hand them directly to Danny Martin in person at the end of next month.