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Thursday May 15th, 2014

Posted at 12:35pm

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Theresa Charbonneau, Cpl. Andrew Grenon’s mother, stands in the rink renamed in honour of her son and all other veterans.

Fallen soldiers, army veterans and current army personnel were honored and remembered in Windsor today.

Rink number two at Windsor’s WFCU Centre was renamed in honor of fallen soldier, Cpl. Andrew Grenon as well as all other Canadian Veterans.

Grenon was killed in action, September 3rd, 2008 at Zharey district, Afghanistan where he was deployed in battle. He died days after receiving Canadian Expeditionary Forces Commander’s Commendation for bravery during a previous incident which occurred earlier during his time in Afghanistan.

“It was more than a question of just naming something,” said Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis. “We wanted to have something that was significant, something that the community would obviously have access to and would recognize. This facility came to mind, given the high volume that it experiences and the fact that it’s in East Riverside, and the Riverside area helped, so we just made it happen.”

Theresa Charbonneau, Grenon’s mother, was “overwhelmed and flabbergasted,” by the enormous plaque hung in the arena. She said judging by the photos for the design she was sent, she thought it was going to be a small plaque. Much to her surprise, not only was there a small plaque in the area overlooking the rink, but also a small plaque on the main floor entrance the rink and a large plaque displayed above the scoreboard.

“Andrew is smiling his biggest smile, I know,” said Charbonneau. “For the city to remember him, period, and for the city to name a hockey rink that he spent so many happy hours on, is just so fitting. We are so grateful.”

Charbonneau said while this eases her grieving, nothing will ever bring her closure because she “never wants it to close.”

“The more we remember the more Windsor remembers, the more Canada will remember and that’s what it’s all about” said Charbonneau. “Canada needs to remember not only the 158 that died in Afghanistan but all Canadian veterans.”

In Andrew’s 23 years, Charbonneau said he served a purpose in his life and she hopes all of Windsor will notice that. Not just what he’s done, but what soliders before and after him continue to do on a daily basis. Francis agrees, he hopes this rink will serve as a remembrance for all who come through its doors.

“I think what people will get out of this when they come every week, my hope is, that they will take a second to recognize the sacrifice that was made by Corporal Grenon,” said Francis. “What that sacrifice means and the freedoms that we enjoy as a result of that sacrifice and recognize all the veterans, past and present, for their daily contributions to ensure that we get to enjoy and celebrate the freedoms that we do.”

Charbonneau said Grenon spent 10 years on the ice, and loved every moment of it. She said nothing else seemed quite as fitting, and honoring, as this.

Theresa Charbonneau, Cpl. Andrew Grenon’s mother, spoke about her son’s death and the overwhelming feelings she felt by the City of Windsor honouring his memory.

Theresa Charbonneau, Cpl. Andrew Grenon’s mother, was honoured at the WFCU Centre with a personal plaque of her own.

Windsor Mayor, Eddie Francis, speaks about the City of Windsor’s choice to honour Cprl. Andrew Grenon and all other army veterans at the WFCU Centre.

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