Major JJ Verran is making the most of the final days of his posting in North Bay.
Verran has been here before in the early 00’s but soon he and his wife will be moving away again for another assignment.
Such is the life of many in the military.
Verran and his colleagues from Canada and the US are meeting and interacting with the community as part of the Armed Forces Day festivities at the waterfront today.
It’s a special celebration today as Armed Forces Day also pays tribute to NORAD’s 60th Anniversary with a focus on the role of 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base (CFB) North Bay.
“The NORAD piece is extremely important for us here in North Bay, we work side by side with our American friends day in and day out defending North America and to be able to honour NORAD’s 60th with those personnel from the United States that we work with every day in Canada and outside Canada it just means an awful lot,” said Verran.
It’s also a special day for the 32 US personnel that are stationed here at CFB North Bay.
Lt Col Rye Whitehead is originally from Missoula, Montana. He and his colleagues love calling North Bay home. In fact, this morning at a local coffee shop he was interrupted by a customer who insisted he pay for his coffee order.
“He told me the coffee was on him and it just shows the level of support here in the North Bay community and it means so much to us,” said Whitehead.
While many of the Canadian and American personnel move out within two to four years, Verran says many posted here return because of what North Bay has done for them.
“When you look at the veterans, retired Canadian Armed Forces personnel that move back here to North Bay it really speaks to just how wonderful people enjoy their time in North Bay and that they choose to settle here, raise their families here, retire here and grow old here in North Bay,” said Verran.
The morning festivities included air demonstrations by the CF-18 Demo Team.
There were also ground displays including army vehicles, a CF-18 cockpit and equipment and musical entertainment by the North Bay Tri-Service Cadet Band which hundreds of school kids and local residents took in this morning before the rain arrived.
Officials are still trying to determine if the weather will cooperate for any more festivities planned tonight which weather permitting include another CF-18 Demo along with the SkyHawks parachute team from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
“We are continuing to monitor the weather and we will make that call late in the afternoon,” Capt Leah Pierce, Public Affairs, 22 Wing North Bay.