Sonja Lester - Hard Copy

Sonja Lester - Hard Copy

Valley soldier honoured by South Korea

Eugene Bekar travelled back to the country where he fought in the 1950s in 2018

Remembrance Day 2020 was yesterday. One day into the past.Eugene (Gene) Bekar, our valley man, is part of the story that comes from Canada’s past: a story that should never be forgotten.

He was with the Princess Patricia Light Infantry among the Commonwealth Division and was on Hill 355 defending South Korea from North Korea.The hill held about 700 – all Canadians patrolling and fighting into no-man’s land. Conflict continued throughout the nights and in the early morning of Oct. 24,1952 it was all over; the Canadians of the Princess Patricia battalion occupied the hill.The North Koreans used the cover of night and smoke and always attacked in the dark.

South Korea sent an invitation to all wounded in action and in September 2018. Gene and Merrilyn Coles were hosted in that country with thanks and appreciation. The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 but gratitude still flows to Canadians who defended a hill 355 metres above sea level, a hill that had fierce combats because both sides wanted it due to its strategic location on the Korean Peninsula 40 kilometres north of Seoul.

Ingo and Jean Oevermann have appreciated many times how Louise Van Ball and Donna Cummings have gone above and beyond with their landscaping and maintaining the hedges and flowers that line Hwy. 16, Main Street as well as the many parks within the town of Smithers.

The corner of Main and the highway has been breathtaking in its beauty.

Mayor Gladys Atrill noted that it is obvious how much they cared about their work and we all benefited. Thank you Louise and Donna from the community for keeping the town so beautiful. May you thrive in whatever your retirement brings to you.

My ‘never-be-late’ caused me to miss an opportunity to have children featured in this community column.I needed gas before I did anything else and didn’t stop to ask a mom and her daughter, who were taking some important pictures on the steps of the Driftwood School House, if it was something that would be nice to have in the column.Please share if you would like …it would be nice.

Please call 250-847-4414 or 250-643-9749 or e-mail if you can contribute to this column.