About this Report
The National presents stories from across the country to remember the lives of Canadian soldiers, the wars they have fought, and how those events shape our nation and the world.
Read more from Reg Sherren about "Restoring a Memory"
I remember hearing about young Mike Seggie’s passing last year. I remember because he and his comrades were killed on September 3rd, which happens to be my birthday. I followed the ramp ceremony, and Mike’s funeral. One more funeral, when there has already been so many.
I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it’s been for Jim and Shirley Seggie. They lost a daughter, Kimberly, in a car accident a few years back. She was just 17. And now their only son was gone.
Mike's pride and joy. Mike Seggie’s 1968 Plymouth Barracuda had a good coat of paint on it, but… I heard about the car project a few months ago. Now a fast-back 1968 Plymouth Barracuda is a fairly rare beast these days. But beyond that, as people got to know Mike Seggie’s sense of duty, his humour, his willingness to give others the shirt off his back, they too wanted to attach themselves to his memory.
It was worse than anyone imagined. Mike’s car was rotten with rust and barely attached to the frame. Hence, the restoration project. The car project provides the family with a much-needed source of strength, and while Mom Shirley says she doesn’t know how she will ever repay their kindness, those I talked with say no thanks is necessary, they are honoured to be part of the team. Soldiers who have worked on the car are deployed in Afghanistan right now.
My final connection with this story came when Jim showed me a special license plate a woman named Kay Kennedy had made, which will go on the front of the car. We had been talking about where I grew up when he said. “you’re kidding, you grew up in Labrador? The woman who designed the license plate is from Wabush, Labrador. She lost her son, too.” Her son was Private Kevin Kennedy, Royal Canadian Regiment.
For close to 30 years now I have been covering November 11th, and telling the stories of those who served. I’ve seen the torch passed from our veterans, to the men and women in the Persian Gulf, and now Afghanistan.
I feel a responsibility to tell their stories, to ensure people can see beyond those painful ramp ceremonies, and understand the tremendous loss good families are dealing with every day.
Here's a list of those who have helped out on the car project, in Mike Seggie's memory:
CFB Shilo Car Club/Mike Mulvihill
Castrol (through NAPA)
H. Bullee and Sons
Pony Corral (a restaurant in Winnipeg that helped with fundraising in a huge way)
Sam from D.J. Autobody