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Afghanistan veterans to be honoured by Airdrie Legion

A Light Armoured Vehicle or LAV III will soon be on display in Airdrie. Bob McNiven is fronting a campaign to bring the piece of military equipment to the city. He said it’s a way of showing support and appreciation to Canada’s younger veterans.
The Airdrie Legion Branch #288 is bringing a Light Armoured Vehicle III to Airdrie and putting it on permanent display as a way of honouring younger veterans from Bosnia,
The Airdrie Legion Branch #288 is bringing a Light Armoured Vehicle III to Airdrie and putting it on permanent display as a way of honouring younger veterans from Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

A Light Armoured Vehicle or LAV III will soon be on display in Airdrie.

Bob McNiven is fronting a campaign to bring the piece of military equipment to the city. He said it’s a way of showing support and appreciation to Canada’s younger veterans.

“The Airdrie Legion Branch #288 is trying to honour our veterans of Bosnia, Yugoslavia and, of course, Afghanistan. A lot of legions have a big tank from World War II or a big gun like a howitzer (on display) – we would like to see the City of Airdrie bring something that will honour our young veterans of today,” he said.

A total of 250 LAV IIIs were decommissioned by the Canadian Armed Forces and made into monuments to be displayed across the country. Each LAV III is made up of hulls and remnant parts, but is not functional. The Airdrie Legion applied to receive one of the monuments.

McNiven, who is also the past-president of the Airdrie Legion Branch #288, said the Airdrie Legion was selected to receive the monument in March 2015. It will be the first of its kind in Alberta.

“About a year and a half ago I applied for the LAV III, one of only 250 across Canada,” he said. “After hounding and hounding them it worked – because we got one.”

The Airdrie Legion will be fundraising to bring the monument to the city. Refurbishment of the LAV III will cost $15,750. Getting it from London, Ont., to Airdrie is estimated at an additional $18,000, while pouring a concrete pad to place it on is estimated at $10,000. Adding a memorial plaque and lighting is estimated at $3,000, bringing the total cost for the project to approximately $46,750. The Airdrie Legion will pay all costs involved in bringing the LAV to Airdrie.

McNiven came to the April 18 Airdrie City council meeting to ask for a letter of support for the project. He said the Legion is hoping to place the monument at Nose Creek Valley Museum on Main Street as this is a high-visibility location.

Mayor Peter Brown asked whether or not other locations – such as the cenotaph or Veterans Boulevard – had been investigated.

“We want permission to put this thing at the Nose Creek museum because every citizen comes down Main Street and (will see) this LAV,” McNiven said. “The men and women who were in Afghanistan, who were in Bosnia, can say, ‘I was in that LAV, I drove behind that LAV or I walked behind that LAV.’”

Laurie Harvey, curator at the Nose Creek Valley Museum, said the board of the museum had given enthusiastic and unanimous approval to the project.

“It’s exciting. We’re so on board and so honoured that the Legion considered our front lawn (as the location),” she said.

According to McNiven, the LAV will be painted in a paint that is graffiti resistant.

Council unanimously approved writing a letter of support for the project.

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