Like most Canadians, Joe Danyleyko isn’t one to show an over-the-top expression of swelling national pride.
But he has every right to be a proud Canadian.
Danyleyko has travelled coast-to-coast and around the world in service to his country in the military for more than 37 years. He has seen the best Canada has to offer, and he’s witnessed the gratitude other people have for Canada.
Canada Day (July 1) is something special for the 75-year-old Sooke resident.
Danyleyko joined the Canadian Army out of high school in 1958 after working for a brief time in an underground mine in Bancroft, Ont.
He started his military career with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in Edmonton for basic training before being posted to Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt.
His battalion headed to Germany for three years starting in 1963, and when he returned he became a parachutist.
It was off to Cyprus for UN peacekeeping duties in 1968. He returned to the small Mediterranean island in 1975. In between those two tours, he was part of the new Canadian Airborne Regiment.
Danyleyko received his officer’s commission in 1977 and led a French-speaking commando unit, before heading back to Victoria in 1980 as a support officer of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, an army reserve unit. He ended his military career as the adjutant for the Canadian Scottish’s commanding officer in 1995, when he was forced to retire.
Does Danyleyko consider himself a patriot? Yes. And the military likely encouraged that pride.
“The three years I spent in Germany, the Canadians had a good reputation with the Germans and other NATO nations,” says Danyleyko.
“I think Canadians overseas, not only with the UN, take pride in representing their country. I haven’t met a person yet that didn’t have a good thing to say about Canada.”
He believes that has changed in recent years as Canadians become more of a target – much like the British and Americans – with radical groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
“You can still be proud about being a Canadian, but now you have to be careful about displaying it,” Danyleyko says.
Danyleyko will be at today’s Canada Day celebrations at Sooke River Flats. He’ll be the one wearing a red and white Hawaiian shirt and a red Canadian Airborne Regiment ball cap.
No fireworks or logging show
The Sooke Lions Club is hosting a Canada Day celebration at Sooke River Flats today (July 1).
However, two big events have been cancelled: the West Coast Lumberjacks show and fireworks.
The Sooke Fire Department cancelled the fireworks show, citing extremely dry conditions.
Canada Day festivities begin at 1 p.m. The event features cake, entertainment, pie-eating contest, flag parade and children’s events.