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Support for soldiers earns kudos for Stewiacke businessman


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Stewiacke Foodland owner Darren Schriver was shocked to receive a special commendation from the First Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) congratulating him on his efforts to support Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Schriver led his store and community in sending almost 70 boxes of personal care items and food to the soldiers during the past few months. MONIQUE CHIASSON - TRURO DAILY NEWS

STEWIACKE - Darren Schriver looks at the award in his hand and is speechless for a moment.

"It's very emotional,"said Schriver, owner of the Stewiacke Foodland. "I have always loved giving and this award is a humbling experience because it's an honour to help the soldiers."

Schriver and his business were awarded a commendation by the Commanding Office of the First Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North). The honour was given to him Saturday during a special Highlander gala in Amherst as a thank you for supporting Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

"The commendation is very rarely given to a civilian. I still don't feel like I've done much," he said.

The award was in recognition of Schriver's generosity in leading his store and the community in a fundraising initiative that saw 16 boxes of grooming items and food such as noodles, soup and Kool-Aid being sent to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in June and an additional 51 boxes in October. Staff donated money from their staff fund toward the project and Schriver added about $500 to the cause.

"It started as something small, a small gesture to say we were thinking about them and it just snowballed," said Schriver. "But (the soldiers) were amazed ... they got excited about toothbrushes and chicken noodle soup! Their spirits were uplifted and they sent an email saying, ‘you don't know how much it meant to us.' "

The "hundreds of items" sent, estimated to be worth about $2,000, blessed countless soldiers, including Stewiacke's Cpl. Mike Porquet, Cpl. Mitchell Budd and Londonderry's M/Cpl. Jonathan Richard.

Schriver said he will hang the special award in the store. He is also encouraging the community to continue donating to the project, which is ongoing.

"I'd like to send 51 boxes again in the new year," he said, adding an estimated $200 has already been donated by community members.

"It's just as significant to us to know something we've done means so much to someone across the world. I'm so grateful to be able to give ... nowadays we take so much so it's always good to give," he said.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

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