Continues to keep her son’s legacy alive

Maureen Eykelenboom lives in Comox, a town familiar to Islanders. From an early age, she envisioned a Pollyanna life for herself. That vision began to unfold as she married, raised three boys, volunteered and developed a successful career in Volunteer Management. But the Pollyanna vision vanished August 11, 2006, the day her youngest son Andrew, in Afghanistan as a medic with the Canadian Armed Forces, was killed by a 17 year old suicide bomber. Andrew was 23 years old. In Issue 2 of Island Gals, readers were introduced to Maureen Eykelenboom, a Comox lady who never dreamed she would today be the head of a charitable organization whose goal is simple: to provide the means for our soldiers with boots on the ground in war-torn countries to provide hope to civilians who, through no fault of their own, are in the midst of conflict. Ironic that the death of her beloved youngest son, Andrew (Boomer), would be the catalyst. Issue 2 highlighted how one simple knitted cap a mere five years ago grew into an organization that reaches worldwide, providing funds to those in the most need. As one example, on June 18, 2011, 94 cyclists met in Comox for Boomer’s Ride, the annual two-day journey to Victoria to raise funds for Boomer’s Legacy, the foundation Maureen heads. That mission was again accomplished in the name of one young soldier, Andrew Eykelenboom. Over $53,000 was raised this year, and each rider arrived in Victoria with a sense of accomplishment from being part of Maureen’s vision. General Walter J. Natynczyk, Chief of Defence Staff, was on hand in Comox to support the riders and to present Maureen with the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service, the highest honour given by the Canadian military to a civilian. A comparable ride was established recently in Nova Scotia, where 52 riders participated for the first time in a one-day journey to raise funds for the continued efforts of Boomer’s Legacy. Maureen’s vision of simply “connecting the dots” to help our soldiers help others continues with full force. Those of us with no ties to the military and their efforts have no idea of the sacrifice these young men and women make on a daily basis, but we should. Maureen’s son Andrew dedicated his life to service, and to providing hope. Maureen tirelessly continues to support and carry on Andrew’s vision. Our responsibility is to support Maureen in helping our soldiers help others.

Maureen Eykelenboom

www.boomerslegacy.ca
Helping Our Soldiers Help Others

ISLANDgals.ca

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