Ann Bason, the mother of Master Cpl. Colin Bason who was killed in Afghanistan, Allan De Genova, the president of Honour House and Barry Drews, of the 3rd Canadian Army Veterans, admire the mock-up of the Highway of Heroes sign that will be posted along the Trans-Canada between Langley and Abbotsford to commemorate the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers and first responders. The sign was unveiled at Honour House in New Westminster on Thursday.

Ann Bason, the mother of Master Cpl. Colin Bason who was killed in Afghanistan, Allan De Genova, the president of Honour House and Barry Drews, of the 3rd Canadian Army Veterans, admire the mock-up of the Highway of Heroes sign that will be posted along the Trans-Canada between Langley and Abbotsford to commemorate the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers and first responders. The sign was unveiled at Honour House in New Westminster on Thursday.

B.C. Highway of Heroes dedicated

Stretch of Highway 1 is renamed in honour of B.C.’s fallen soldiers and the province’s first responders

The Trans-Canada Highway between Langley and Abbotsford was officially dedicated as the “Highway of Heroes” Thursday morning (June 9) to honour 13 B.C. soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

The roll call of the fallen includes Master Cpl. Colin Bason, a 28-year-old reserve soldier from Aldergrove killed by the explosion of roadside bomb on July 4, 2007 and Pte. Garrett Chidley, a 21-year-old full-time solider from Langley who was killed on Dec. 30, 2010 after the light armored vehicle he was driving struck an improvised explosive device.

The official dedication ceremony was held at Honour House in New Westminster, the home for injured soldiers, fire fighters, paramedics and police as well as their families who require treatment in Metro Vancouver.

The B.C. route from the 152 Street exit in Surrey to the Sumas exit in Abbotsford on the Trans-Canada Highway is the second Highway of Heroes named in Canada.

The first is located in Ontario on Highway 401 from Canadian Forces Base Trenton to the coroners’ office in Toronto, where hundreds of people have lined the overpasses every time a fallen soldier returned home from Afghanistan.

The Ontario route was officially renamed in 2007.

The renaming of the B.C. route was the work of a Chilliwack-based veterans’ group, the 3rd CAV (Canadian Army Veterans) Ubique Unit.

Ubique got things rolling last year with its first ever Memorial Ride for the Fallen.

Vice president Barry Drews described the motorcycle ride as the West Coast Highway of Heroes.

“It was the perfect wording,” Drews says.

Just two weeks after the CAV’s memorial ride, he got a call from the Ministry of Transportation interested in creating a West Coast Highway of Heroes.

But it wasn’t until well-connected Honour House president Allan de Genova, a former Vancouver parks commissioner got involved that the necessary commitments were made.

“It is touching beyond belief,” says Drews.

“This is a way for people to honour our fallen soldiers and it’s also a sign of respect to the families of the fallen. It’s a constant reminder that we as Canadians care and that their losses will never be forgotten, that it wasn’t for nothing.”

An 18-by-8-foot sign will be posted at each exit that says Highway of Heroes.

For Langley residents, the signs will be another reminder of Master Cpl. Bason and Pte. Chidley.

Pte. Garrett Chidley (L), a 21-year-old full-time solider from Langley was killed on Dec. 30, 2010 after the light armored vehicle he was driving struck an improvised explosive device and Master Cpl. Colin Bason (R), a 28-year-old reserve soldier from Aldergrove, was killed by a roadside bomb on July 4, 2007.

Photos courtesy Canadian Armed Forces.

When Basnon volunteered for the Afghanistan tour, the mission had filled its quota of master corporals so he accepted a reduction in rank to corporal in order to go.

He had about a month left in his tour of duty, and was planning to enlist as a full-time soldier on his return to Canada.

He was survived by his partner, Katrina Blain, and their infant daughter Vienna.

At his funeral service Bason’s parents, Ann and Gary of Abbotsford, and his brother, Beric, led the dozens of other family members and friends along the funeral procession route, which began at Fraser Highway and 276 Street.

Bason had previously served with the military in Bosnia. He first joined the reserves in 2000.

Bason was described as a stellar soldier who was passionate about his role, and a jokester who helped lift the morale of the comrades in his unit.

Born in Cambridge, Ont., and raised in Langley, Pte. Chidley first started taking flying lessons at 14 and completed his first solo flight on Dec. 23, 2003, when he was 15 years old.

He joined the military at 18 and was deployed to Afghanistan on his first mission in September, 2009.

Pte. Chidley was a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, a Regular Force battalion based at CFB Shilo Man., serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Pte. Chidley’s family and friends spent their last days together with the soldier in November, celebrating an early Christmas while he was home on leave.

During an emotional funeral, family and friends remembered the 21-year-old’s love of life, his appetite for adventure, zany sense of humour, his unique gifts and abilities and commitment to physical fitness.

 

– with files from Chilliwack Progress

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley Animal Protection Society is asking people to think about the animals in need this holiday season, offering a number of ways to help. (Drew Harkness/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Santa Paw efforts afoot in Langley this Christmas

Aldergrove animal shelter develops new ways for people to help pets this holiday season

Local people are signing onto an online campaign to have people stand out of doors at 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve and ring bells for two minutes. (Facebook post)
LETTER: Langley, ring those Christmas bells

Global campaign asks people to ring bells for two minutes outside at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve local time

Rents range from $1,000 for a studio apartment up to almost $2,000 for a family townhouse at Emmaus Place, built as affordable housing. (Langley Advance Times files)
Rents out of reach at Langley affordable housing project, say would-be tenants

Rents for a studio apartment start at $1,000 a month

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Most Read