The story begins with Aunt Adrienne volunteering her accounting services for Boomer’s Legacy out of Courtenay, BC.
On August 11, 2006, Cpl Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom made the ultimate sacrifice when he lost his life to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. He was 23 years old. Looking back Maureen Eykelenboom recalls that it was on the flight from British Columbia to Ontario that she knew she had to do something to honour her son. “As I sat on the plane and watched my son’s ramp ceremony from KAF on the news the overwhelming raw and unreal emotions that grew made me say, we have to do something,” explains Maureen. “It was like Andrew was saying, ‘okay Mom, I have done my part, now it is your turn.’”
In the days following Andrew’s repatriation ceremony the family didn’t know what or how they would keep Andrew’s memory alive, but Maureen knew as she met Andrew’s buddies that she wanted to raise awareness to the Canadian people about what Canadian troops were doing in Afghanistan. She wanted to get the message out that soldiers were putting their lives on the line to help Afghanis and the loyalty that the troops have for their comrades. She recognized that she had an opportunity to make a difference and to help our soldiers help others.
And she has done just that. Boomer’s Legacy was created within the Department of National Defence and 100 per cent of the funds raised through Boomer’s Legacy are used to support projects. “The soldiers that participate in making the recommendations and spending the funds know that they have made an even greater difference,” says Maureen. For Maureen, Andrew’s spirit lives on with the legacy.
(Information from an article by Jeannine Friesen)
When Nanette (Adrienne’s niece) went to Sierra Leone to assist in the fight against ebola, Adrienne contacted her through Boomer’s Legacy to see if there was anything that needed to be done for the people there. Nanette had seen the deplorable conditions of an orphanage nearby and that the children were sleeping on threadbare mattresses or no mattresses at all on the floor. Auntie and niece began the long, arduous task of filling in the paperwork directed to Boomer’s Legacy in order to do something about that. Alas, Nanette returned home with the project in hand, but no confirmed action. Fortunately, she was able to further pursue it from home (Base Petewawa) and during the third rotation of medical assistance from the Canadian Forces, auntie and niece’s dream became a reality.
Boomer’s Legacy was able to provide Mercy Children’s Orphanage with $5,000.00 which allowed them to buy 10 bunk beds with mattresses, and build a patio and wall (to stop the water from getting in) to support the bakery. Soldiers even raised extra funds to buy ingredients needed to open the bakery. 4 pigs were purchased as well!
Nanette and Adrienne (niece and auntie) are elated that there is a positive and successful end to their project. “Even the smallest drop in the bucket matters,” Nanette said.
Have a look at some of the images from Sierra Leone below: