Nova Scotia

Monument unveiled in New Glasgow to helicopter captain Brenden MacDonald

A monument to Capt. Brenden MacDonald was unveiled Saturday at a ceremony in New Glasgow. MacDonald was a pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces who died in 2020 along with five others in a Cyclone helicopter crash in the Ionian Sea.

MacDonald died in Cyclone crash in Ionian Sea in 2020

A ceremony to remember Capt. Brenden MacDonald was held in Carmichael Park on Saturday. (Larry Bergeron)

A monument to Capt. Brenden MacDonald was unveiled Saturday at a ceremony in New Glasgow.

MacDonald was a helicopter pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces who died in 2020 along with five others in a Cyclone crash in the Ionian Sea. He was born and raised in New Glasgow.

Friends, family, Canadian Forces and veterans organizations gathered in Carmichael Park for a commemoration.

"Brenden MacDonald was larger than life," said Honorary Col. Dan Hennessey, who is a liaison between the Forces and military families. "At four years old, he wanted to fly. He has three young sons, a young wife that … on April 29th, 2020, their lives have changed forever."

Honorary Col. Dan Hennessey and his daughter, Grace. (Larry Bergeron)

The ceremony included speeches and songs. A Cyclone helicopter did a low speed pass over the field.

MacDonald's eight-year-old son, Brody, tied a yellow ribbon, representing military families, around the tree next to the monument.

"There was not a dry eye in the area when that was happening," said Hennessey.

MacDonald and five others died when their helicopter crashed into the Ionian Sea off Greece. (Canadian Armed Forces)

The community and family haven't been able to publicly grieve because of the pandemic, so Hennessey hoped this would bring closure.

"It'll become a lasting monument for the town of New Glasgow," said Hennessey. "It'll be a way for them to continue remembering the life that was Brenden MacDonald.

He said it's very close to MacDonald's mother's house and ensures his legacy will live on. 

The monument includes a plaque, a photo of MacDonald and a photo of the CH148 helicopter. (Dan Hennessey)

MacDonald's wife, Amanda, submitted the following statement:

"Thank you all for attending the service and remembering Captain Brenden MacDonald "BMac".
It seems so significant and fitting to have this monument located in Carmichael Park. He was
proud to be from New Glasgow and Pictou County. Having a monument in honour of Brenden
means so much to me and our 3 sons. It gives us another place to go to instill rituals in our lives
as we continue to remember him. The memorial monument can give others the opportunity to
never forget, to share stories, to share memories, to laugh, and to cry. Brenden is genuinely
missed and loved by so many."

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