Chilliwack’s Canex Building Supplies is being applauded by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for contributing to Operation Laser.
Over the last four months, Canex has allowed employee Mason Furdal time off to serve as a full time army reservist. Serving in the Royal Westminster Regiment, the infantryman has joined military reservists across the country preparing to offer COVID pandemic-related assistance to any Canadian government (federal/provincial/territorial) that asks for it.
According to the Operation Laser webpage, Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) is directing six regional joint task forces that are active in key locations across the country.
“Employers like Canex are helping us out immeasurably,” said LCol Chuck Mackinnon, commanding officer of the Royal Westminster Regiment. “Allowing Reservists like Pte Furdal to focus exclusively on Operation Laser is a huge sacrifice to a business, but it means the army in B.C. can carry out its duties and be ready to support Canadians.”
John Englund is the manager of the finishing division at Canex, where Mason usually works, and said Canex is proud to support the CAF and what they do for the community.
“If somebody is in the reserves and they get called up, they have to go and we’ll make sure they have their job when they come back,” Englund said. “We don’t pay Mason while he’s gone, so it’s not a financial difficulty. But he is a key employee and sometimes he has to go without notice if there’s something going on, and that is a challenge. But this is what Mason has decided he wants to do, and we are fully supportive of him.”
As an example of what the CAF is doing, on Tuesday 10 CAF members were deployed to Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba to assist with vaccine roll-out.
“We like to think of our reservists as ‘twice the citizen,’ because they lead two very separate working lives, one devoted to their regular job and the other to serving their country,” Mackinnon said. “But the truth is, that just wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of their civilian employers.”