Brooks: Grand Highland Military Ball salutes our unsung heroes

The annual Grand Highland Military Ball would not be the success it is if not for the outstanding leadership of Hon. Col. Lauchlan Currie, CEO of ARC Financial Corp. Pictured with Currie at the 71st annual is his wife Karen Currie. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

One might be forgiven for feeling of late that our country has ‘gone to hell in a hand-basket’. Political dithering, economic uncertainty, global tensions and a nasty virus could be the causes for such despondency. Yet, if you were fortunate enough to be among the several hundred guests at the 71st Grand Highland Military Ball on Feb. 29 at the Fairmont Palliser, such feelings would have been replaced with pride, reminding us we live in the best city and country on earth!

There is no better feel-good tonic than honouring unsung heroes — our men and women in the military community. Deployment 2020 — the theme of this year’s ball — recognized the deployment of 25 soldiers to Latvia as part of the Canadian-led NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group, with additional soldiers representing Canada in Iraq (3), Ukraine (1) and Kuwait (1). This is the unit’s largest deployment since Afghanistan. As citizen-soldiers, the Calgary Highlanders are recognized as leaders in the Canadian Army Reserve for their contributions to promoting Canada’s national interests overseas, having been awarded the Chief of Defense Staff Unit Commendation in 2015 for deploying more soldiers to Afghanistan than any other reserve regiment.

That the 71st ball raised an impressive $150,000, the most-ever raised in the event’s history, ensures the Calgary Highlanders Regimental Funds Foundation’s (CHRFF) continued support for the Regiment’s serving soldiers, veterans and their families. CHRFF also teaches young people in the Calgary area a range of skills including: history; orienteering and bushcraft; citizenship and music. Further, the foundation enables the ongoing preservation of the regiment’s traditions and history through the Regimental Pipes and Drums and the Regiment’s gallery at the Military Museums.

Hosting the ball this evening were Hon. Col. Lauchlan Currie (ARC Financial CEO), and Hon. Lieut.-Col. Brian Parker (Acumen Capital Partners president and CEO), who are also chairs and vice-chairs of the foundation respectively. Lieut.-Col. Kyle Clapperton was this year’s ball chairman.

Highlights this night included: Maj. (Ret’d) Kent Griffiths presenting the Address to the Haggis; the Calgary Girls Choir BRAVA Ensemble’s rendition of Amazing Grace followed by Ode to Freedom and then We are the Dreamers; musical performances by the Regiment’s affiliated cadet unit 2137 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps Pipes and Drums and the Regimental Pipes and Drums; the spirited singing of the Glenwhorple; and dancing to the Dino Martinis’ terrific tunes.

Others in attendance included: Deputy Commanding Officer Maj. Andrew Beauchamp as emcee; ARC Financial and ball committee member Linsey Gibbons with Blackline Safety’s Derek Bien; Richard and Pam Goebel; MNP’s Jason and Christine Tuffs and Gordon and June Chan; Painted Pony Petroleum CFO Stuart Jaggard with Colter Energy Services’ Christine Pelland; past U of C president Elizabeth Cannon; Lieut.-Col. Ryan Palmer, Commanding Officer of the Calgary Highlanders; Hon. Col. (Ret’d) Fred Mannix; The Reading Foundation’s Devan Kublik; my terrific handler, ARC Financial and ball committee member Michelle Nikkel; and others pictured.

Pictured at the 71st Grand Highland Military Ball on Feb. 29 at the Fairmont Palliser are AHS’ Shauna Levitt and her husband, ARC Financial’s Carl Levitt. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

From left: MNP’s Jason and Christine Tuffs with June and Gordon Chan. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Colter Energy Services Christine Pollard and Painted Pony Petroleum CFO Stuart Jaggard. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Blackline Safety’s Derek Bien and ball committee member ARC Financial’s Linsey Gibbons. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Hon. Col (Ret’d) Fred Mannix and past University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

From left: Grand Highland Military Ball chairman Lieut.-Col. Kyle Clapperton with his wife, Devan Kublik of The Reading Foundation, and Brooks and Dodd Consulting’s Tom Dodd. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Maj. (Ret’d) Kent Griffiths did an outstanding job Presenting the Haggis at the 71st Grand Highland Military Ball at the Fairmont Palliser. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

From left: Hon. Lieut.-Col. Brian Parker, president and CEO Acumen Capital Partners; his wife Sharon Parker; Bell & Stock LLP’s Elizabeth Stock; and Teamit Inc.’s Alistair Shepherd Cross. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Pam Goebel and her husband, Richard Goebel, the Saint Lazarus Canada, Commander, Calgary Commandery. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Pictured at the 71st Grand Highland Military Ball at the Fairmont Palliser are the 2137 Calgary Highlanders Cadets. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

Dean Pangrach and Katrina Hertzer were among the guests at the 71st annual Grand Highland Military Ball. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

From left: ARC Financial CFO Tanya Causgrove; Deputy Commanding Officer Maj. Drew Beauchampe; and ball committee member Michelle Nikkel of ARC Financial, which was the presenting sponsor of the fabulous fete. Bill Brooks / Bill Brooks

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