The Canadian Forces Snowbirds launched Operation Inspiration to share some positivity in a challenging time. They started a tour across Canada to give hope and thank Canadians for playing their role in social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being a proud Nova Scotian, that included Master-Corporal Matt Mackenzie flying with a Nova Scotia flag.
“I wanted to inspire Nova Scotians to bond together as one through all the tragedy the province faced,” says Master-Corporal Mackenzie. After pictures of the flag went viral online, Master-Corporal Mackenzie knew he wanted to find a meaningful home for it.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are a small group of 22 that travel for seven months of the year together. “We essentially become a family,” explains Master-Corporal Mackenzie. It was on the flying circuit that Master-Corporal Mackenzie first met Captain Jennifer Casey. “When it came time to be on the road, she was that glue that always held us together.. To me, she was a great friend, and an outstanding professional.”
Sadly, just a few weeks into Operation Inspiration, Captain Jennifer Casey died in aircraft crash.
To honour Captain Casey, Master-Corporal Mackenzie decided to use his Nova Scotian flag to raise funds for a cause she cared about. “Since Jenn and her boyfriend, Captain Scott Boyd, snowbird #5, had two dogs together, and they’re both huge dog lovers, I knew that the Nova Scotia SPCA would be the right place to get money for. Then the auction idea became alive.”
“I believe its important to raise money and care for shelter animals because they’re most likely there for a traumatic reason or they couldn’t be cared for,” shares Master-Corporal Mackenzie. “In my opinion, animals are to be loved by us humans and taken care of. In the right environment, they’re going to take just as good care of their owners. And animals that are dealt a bad card, deserve a second chance.” We 100% agree. That’s why we proudly follow a no-kill philosophy to tackle difficult and expensive medical and cruelty cases so every pet can be safe, happy and healthy.
The buzzing and bidding for the auction started… and got bigger and bigger… raising an amazing $5,300!
And Master-Corporal Mackenzie isn’t stopping there.
He started fundraising, collecting donations, and set a goal to find a business to match the dollars raised.
“I have two dogs with my wife: Apollo and Scotia,” says Master-Corporal Mackenzie. “They always are a welcome sight to me. Leaving them is actually one of the most difficult things when it comes time to leaving home for the seven-month air show season. They helped me through a lot, especially this tragedy. I always hug them a little more tight now and spend every second I can with them.”
The feedback from the community has been an out-pour of love and Master-Corporal Mackenzie wants people to know this is all for Captain Jennifer Casey and her memory. “She would have done something similar to this for any of us, but she would have done it in a way more cooler and efficient way I’m sure,” he laughs. “One thing I can and do want to say though is I’ve never been more proud to be a Nova Scotian. This is why I brag to all my teammates and friends that we have the best people in the country.”
On behalf of all the animals at the SPCA, thank you to everyone who bidded, shared, and donated in tribute to Captain Jennifer Casey. And a special thank you to Master-Corporal Mackenzie for your leadership, kindness, and dedication. This is truly a beautiful legacy of love.