Wayne Shaw: Military life was never dull

Military Life

I’ve known Wayne Shaw for a number of years now and even served with him on the Bellevue Legion Executive for a couple of years.

A somewhat quite, shy and humble gentleman who knows how to take life’s blows (including drunken right hooks). :-)

Wayne’s a class act who does both our Legions and community proud. Selfless dedication and unparalleled volunteerism along with a perpetual cheerful disposition and unwavering camaraderie makes this man a steadfast pillar and shining light of both stability and warmth that only those who have been fortunate enough to experience his friendship can understand. A class act indeed!

By Shootin’ The Breeze

Wayne Shaw says he doesn’t feel much like a veteran because he never shot a gun in combat. Nevertheless, he served his country as a member of the Air Force for over three decades and went on to become president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 19 in Bellevue.

Born in Ontario in 1944, he was still in school when he saw a recruiting centre in 1964 and decided to join the military. “It was just impulse,” he says.

Over the next 32 and a half years, he loaded aircraft, oversaw cabin crews and
helped fly peacekeepers into Cyprus. He participated in missions such as taking
relief supplies to India after a monsoon in the 1970’s and also took supplies to Chile after the country suffered an earthquake.

“My whole career was interesting,” he says.

Wayne Shaw
Photo by Brad Quarrin

He volunteered to serve as a peacekeeper himself but never did. He credits the veterans of the Second World War for the fact that he never had to fight a war. “It made the world safe for that period of time,” he says.

Mr. Shaw says he enjoyed his service. “You make the best of any situation,” he says. He also made friends among his fellow soldiers. “You have a camaraderie. It lasts a lifetime.”

However, the service was sometimes difficult for Mr. Shaw’s family. He married his wife, also from the town of Huntsville, in 1968 and had two sons. The family moved around a lot in Canada and Germany over the years.

In July 1996 he retired three years early under the Forces Reduction Program, which aimed to trim the Canadian Forces to 60,000 people. He was 52 and didn’t regret leaving.

After serving in the Forces, Mr. Shaw entered the executive of the Bellevue Legion and became president in 2000. He served for nine years over the next decade. As president, he helped veterans and widows receive pensions and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also ran the poppy campaign, which he says is a large source of financial support for veterans and their dependents.

Today he would tell young people that a career in the military is “a good experience,” offering an opportunity to see the world and make lasting friendships.

 

I am strong, because I’ve been weak. I am fearless, because I’ve been afraid. I am wise, because I’ve been foolish.

from John Prince
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