Saturday December 11, 2010
ASU soldiers are high on Children's Hospital
Craig Hill/Voice photos
Jason Doiron (L) and Erasmo Gavini are tower-sitting rain or shine or even snow for kids all this week at the ASU base.
ergeant Erasmo Gavini and Master Corporal Jason Doiron have both been to Afghanistan but now they are on a different mission.
The two soldiers from Area Support Unit (ASU) in Chilliwack have combined forces in a very different way to raise money for the BC Children's Hospital Foundation.
Yesterday the soldiers embarked what they call a "Survival Challenge" and for the next 7-days, until 7am on Friday, they'll have a birds eye view perched on top of scaffolding 25 feet up at the entrance to the base.
Both soldiers will be hunkering down with zero shelter and toughing it out on minimal rations.
They want people to help by donating or simply by rooting them on.
Doiron, a father of two, is 35-years-old and hails from a Nova Scotia military family, says they've wanted to do something like this for a couple of years ever since a soldier in Winnipeg spent a day up a similar tower in a fundraising effort there. The long week begins for Gavini and Doiron.
"It's not my original idea. I'm not sure if he was up overnight or just the day but he raised money for a charity and I always thought it was a great idea, so Mo and I talked about it for a couple of years."
On Friday, as the two soldiers were donning safety harnesses, they took a moment to speak with the Voice prior to making the ascent up the temporary structure.
"A few months ago, we set the plan in motion. We've been wanting to do this for a few years now, and life happens and a lot of time you don't get to do what you want. So, we set the plan early enough in September, everything came together well, and here we are."
Doiron says they have plenty of support for what they're doing from other soldiers at ASU.
"The base has been excellent. From our immediate supervisors up the chain of command to the commanding officer of the unit and she had the final say to approve this event and yes the whole business has been great. A lot of support, our co-workers helped us set up. We couldn't have done it without them. So it's been great," said Doiron.
The fundraiser isn't a way for them to get out of duties, they're using up valuable holiday vacation time.
"It's actually costing us our leave. We wanted to tell everybody that it's a good fundraiser, this whole event, and we didn't want anyone saying, 'no, it's a day off.'" said 20-year veteran Gavini.
Even though the two have known each other for many years and Gavini is Doiron's superior, he's not going to pull rank up there.
"In this situation there's no boss. We're up there together. We've got the same goal, obviously for the fundraiser. So there's no rank up there," said Gavini.
In case you're wondering, yes they will come down to use the lavatory in the guard shack at the gate.
The fundraiser got off to a great start says Gavini.
"We haven't even gotten up there yet and we've raised over $1000, so that's good, and that's just through by word. Base, outside friends. People are already waving to us from the side of the road here. We're getting great feedback."
The pair don't have any big expectations, but having said that, they have set a goal to raise $3000 and just want people to come out and back them for the worthy cause.
"The success is definitely by numbers. The more info people get out the more aware and they can drop by anytime and say hi to us. We've got a donation box that we can lower down and we can fill up and that'd be great with full support."
Gavini says he's grateful for all the support they've gotten all the way down the line.
"I'd like to say thank you to everyone from maintenance right up to the CO for allowing us to take care of this. Thanks for all the help along the way and especially to the boys in maintenance who helped us set up over the last couple of days we wouldn't be able to do this ourselves."
Those interested in helping these two outstanding guys can donate online at: www.bcchf.ca/asu
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