If you looked to the sky late last week, you may have seen three helicopters on Portage la Prairie's north side. They were dropping off members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Major Ryan Snider, Deputy Commanding Officer, says they brought lots of people together for a 10 kilometre trek through Portage and Southport on Friday and Saturday.
"We've got members from 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (3CFFTS) in Southport, Manitoba -- staff and students, flight instructors and student pilots -- that are here," says Snider. "What we're doing is a charitable ruck march. That's basically marching through with a backpack on our shoulders simulating equipment."
Captain Pete Musters of the 3CFFTS says Boomer's Legacy is a Canadian Armed Forces, or CAF, supported charity.
The 3 Canadians Forces Flying Training School had staff and students participate in a 10km ruck march through Portage la Prairie on Friday. Here are the helicopters flying away after dropping them off. pic.twitter.com/FRIxXBEw01— PortageOnline (@PortageOnline_) May 9, 2023
"We raise money for CAF members who are deployed abroad to do humanitarian work. This charity provides grants to those people to do anything that they'd like, to help people abroad," says Musters. "It's in memory of Andrew 'Boomer' Eykelenboom. His mom put it together after he was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. He was just an awesome soldier and a great medic."
This was the third year of the march which featured a trip to the Cenotaph in downtown Portage. Snider looks forward to it every year.
"It's a great opportunity for us to put our instructors, our staff and our students together for a charitable cause, to improve cohesion of the unit, participation, physical fitness, and add in a little bit of support for our troops deployed abroad," says Snider. "All together, it's a fantastic opportunity. It gets us out in the local community, too. So, there's a little bit of community interaction tied to it as well."