councillor-elect honours commitment to fallen comrade-in-arms
By Fred Sherwin
can forgive Matthew Luloff for not attending the Remembrance
Day ceremony at the Orléans Legion this year; the councillor-elect
has a previously scheduled engagement.
Ward councillor-elect Matthew Luloff will
be attending Remebrance Day services in Windosr
this year in honour of his friend Pte. Andrew
Grenon who died in Afghanistan in 2008, just
as he has dine in yhears past. Fred Sherwin/Photo
will be in Windsor, marking the solemn occasion with the
family of fallen comrade Andrew Grenon who was killed
during an ambush while the two men were serving in Afghanistan
in September, 2008.
are a few of us who served together that go to Windsor
every year. We visit with his mother Teresa and we spend
time together just catching up,” says Luloff. “Drew and
my other buddy Matt picked me out of a bunch of new guys
when I joined the Princess Patricia’s and took me under
their wing. We were all pretty tight.”
graduating from St. Matthew High School in 2002, Luloff
served four years in the army reserves that included a
stint with the Governor Generals Foot Guards during which
he took part in the Changing of the Guard ceremonies on
Parliament Hill and stood guard outside the Governor General’s
residence at Rideau Hall.
2005, he put in for a transfer to the regular force and
was assigned to the Princess Patricia’s 2nd Battalion
based out of CFB Shilo in Manitoba a year later.
soon as Luloff finished his basic training, he joined
the battalion which was already preparing for a planned
eight-month deployment to Afghanistan in February 2008.
platoon was assigned to a combat outpost in Kandahar province
where they performed almost daily patrols during which
they often came under enemy fire.
was assigned to the platoon to replace Pte. Terry Street,
who was killed when his armoured vehicle hit an improvised
explosive device, or IED.
should be noted that 13 members of the Princess Patricia’s
2nd Battalion were killed during the unit’s eight-month
tour in Afghanistan between January and September 2008.
role with the platoon was reconnaissance and navigation.
job was to map out the patrol routes and guide the patrols
along the way.”
patrols would often encounter horseshoe ambushes set up
by the Taliban forces in the area and have to fight their
way out. Nearly half of the casualties suffered by the
battalion were a result of direct fire from the enemy,
the other half were killed by IEDs.
Mike Seggie and Pte. Chad Horn were killed with Luloff’s
friend Andrew Grenon when a rocket hit their vehicle during
an ambush on Sept. 3, 2008. Five other soldiers were seriously
injured in the incident and might have died if not for
the skill and bravery of the medics who served with the
battalion and treated dozens of wounded soldiers during
their tour of duty.
medics were absolutely incredible. I mean, I can’t say
enough about them. They were amazing,” lauds Luloff, who
is proud of the fact that no one was injured or lost during
a patrol which he was involved in planning.
is located in the same space on Centrum Boulevard
previously occu-pied by D’Arcy McGees. Staff
would eventually strike days before the battalion was
scheduled to return to Canada and just four days after
Grenon, Seggie and Horn were killed.
was travelling with a convoy making the final trip from
their combat outpost base to the main Canadian base in
Kandahar City where they would begin their post-deployment
leave when the vehicle carrying the section commander,
Sgt. Scott Shipway, was hit by an IED, killing him instantly.
was driving immediately behind Shipway’s vehicle when
the IED was set off remotely.
could see the pavement ripple up and the LAV flip over
and land upside down. Shipway was waist up out of the
turret directing the convoy and was killed when it landed,”
any other day, Luloff would have been driving for the
was the first time I hadn’t driven for him for months.
I had been rotated back to my original platoon just days
before which is why I wasn’t driving for him when he got
hit,” explains Luloff.
Shipway had been helping Luloff, deal with the psychological
impact of Grenon’s death just days before he, himself,
was killed. To make matters even worse, Luloff could very
well have been driving Shipway’s vehicle when it was hit.
though Shipway’s driver wasn’t killed in the attack, he
was seriously injured.
initially dealt with the dual tragedies by drinking and
kibitzing with his fellow soldiers all of whom were anxious
to get back home. It wasn’t until months later that he
realized he had a problem.
didn’t hit me until months after I got back,” says Luloff.
Once we got back to Shiloh we all went on leave. I came
back home to Ottawa, saw my family, visited with friends
and then I came back to Shilo and that’s when it finally
hit me. That sort of mental illness creeps up on you and
slowly builds and when I got back to Shilo I finally put
up my hand and said I need help."
with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Luloff elected
not to renew his contract with the military and was eventually
given his medical release in March 2009.
came back to Ottawa determined to be a champion for mental
health services for military veterans which has been his
life mission for the past nine years. He also studied
public affairs and policy management at Carleton University
with an eye to work on veterans issues.
leaving the military, Luloff has stayed in constant touch
with his old buddies who get together whenever they can,
especially on Remembrance Day when they gather in Windsor
to be with Drew Grenon’s mother Teresa.
Day to me is a time to celebrate the lives of the people
who have passed, and the lives of the people who I know
personally who have passed – remembering them and supporting
their families. We spend the entire day with them starting
with the ceremony in the morning,” says Luloff, who plans
to attend the local Remembrance Day ceremony next year.
“I’m sure they will understand.”
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