The president of Callander Legion, Marc Picard, described Private (Pte) Jess Larochelle as “a Canadian hero,” when he presented to Callander’s council on December 21st.
Picard appeared before council via web camera to urge the municipality to support a motion being put forward to the Governor General of Canada.
The motion is to have the “the Star of Military Valour awarded to Pte Larochelle upgraded to Canada’s highest honour, the Canadian Victoria Cross,” Picard said.
A group called Valour in the Presence of the Enemy is “leading the charge” to spearhead this campaign, Picard explained, adding that Legion Branch 445 fully supported the motion.
Specifically, he referenced Larochelle’s actions in Afghanistan on October 14, 2006, when he “fearlessly and selflessly held off a Taliban ambush,” showing “cunning, courage, and an unparalleled sense of duty and commitment to his fellow soldiers.”
Pte Larochelle “saved countless lives” holding off the attack against “overwhelming odds.”
His selfless actions came at “great personal expense,” Picard added. “By the time the battle was over, Pte. Larochelle had a broken back, detached cornea, and would have lifelong disabilities from his action.”
He was awarded Canada’s second highest decoration, the Star of Military Valour, which Picard and others hope to upgrade to the Canadian Victoria Cross.
“Jess is a Canadian hero from our community and deserving of our support.”
Callander’s mayor and council whole-heartedly agreed, and plan to put together a formal letter of support early in the new year.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca