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Northern commander visits Deh Cho
Trout Lake and Fort Simpson included in outreach tour

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 10, 2011

TROUT LAKE/FORT SIMPSON - The commander of Joint Task Force North now has a better understanding of two of the Deh Cho communities within his area of responsibility.

NNSL photo/graphic

Brig.-Gen. Guy Hamel, front left, shakes hands with Canadian Ranger Ernest Lomen while Chief Warrant Officer Gilles Laroche, back left, talks with Ranger Gilbert Lamalice during a parade in Trout Lake. - photo courtesy of Capt. Trevor Henderson

Brig.-Gen. Guy Hamel visited Trout Lake and Fort Simpson on Feb. 7, the first day of an outreach tour. The tour, which will last until Feb. 11 will also take Hamel to Whati, Fort Good Hope, Inuvik, Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk and Whitehorse.

When you see the communities you get a better idea of the area you are covering, Hamel said. Hamel also uses the tours as an opportunity to discuss Joint Task Force North's (JTFN) goals with the Canadian Rangers, Junior Canadian Rangers and cadets in the area and to build good relations with local leaders.

"I'm very lucky to travel and to meet with people," he said.

In Trout Lake Hamel was given a tour of the community and met with Chief Dolphus Jumbo and band manager Ruby Jumbo. He also attended a parade and ceremony organized by the Trout Lake Canadian Ranger patrol.

The Rangers don't often get visits like this one to the community, said Sgt. Phoebe Punch, who's in command of the patrol.

"It was an exciting day for them," she said.

The Trout Lake Rangers know the land around their community and the people. In the case of an emergency JTFN knows it can count on them, Hamel said.

"They're very proud and honoured of serving," he said.

The Rangers are a part of the community and without the community's support the patrol wouldn't survive, he said. A number of elders and the students from Charles Tetcho School watched the parade and ceremony.

"I hope that will encourage them to follow in their (the Ranger's) footsteps," Hamel said of the students.

In Fort Simpson on Monday evening, Hamel attended a formal ceremony with the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps that included an inspection and a march.

"They are the future leaders of the North," Hamel said.

Both cadets and the Junior Canadian Rangers are beneficial programs that give youth the opportunity to develop leadership skills, he said. During the ceremony Hamel recognized three cadets, Sgt. Tyler Pilling, Sgt. Nikita Larter and Sgt. Jennifer Gast for their excellent performances in the first part of the training year. He also oversaw the promotion of a number of the cadets.

"It really is a big honour to be recognized by people whose concerns are so much larger than the day-to-day runnings of the corps," said Lt. Steve Nicoll, the commanding officer for 2860.

Nicoll said the corps only runs because of all of the leaders and parents who give their time. They don't receive enough recognition for their efforts, he said.

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