As Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of 41 Signal Regiment, I think it’s important that we learn about our military history, especially one as rich and meaningful as our local military history. Here in the 2nd of 3 local stories, Michael Dawe tells us about the soldiers from our region who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Boer War.
When the Red Deer Hospital opened in 1904, it was dedicated to the memory of three young men from the Balmoral District east of Red Deer who had been killed in the Boer War. They were Angus Jenkins, Archibald McNicoll and Charles Cruickshank.
Angus Jenkins was born in Fredericton New Brunswick in 1877. He moved with his parents, brother and sister to a homestead about three miles east of Red Deer. A big strapping man, more than 6 feet in height, he became a “cow puncher”.
In February 1900, he went down to Pincher Creek with his friend Charles Cruickshank and enlisted in the Lord Strathcona Horse. He then departed for South African and the Boer War.
On July 1 (Dominion Day) 1900, he was proceeding with an advance party near Waterval, South Africa. They encountered a group of Boers flying a white flag in a farm house. When the Canadians proceeded closer, they were ambushed by unseen enemies who were hiding in a small orchard. Trooper Jenkins was killed instantly when a Mauser bullet hit his bandolier and two cartridges exploded.
Angus Jenkins was the first member of the Lord Strathcona Horse to be killed in action. He was buried in a garden at Wuuchaut Spruit. The Earl of Dundonald and Colonel Sam Steele attended the funeral.
Charles Cruickshank was born in 1877 in Pembroke Ontario. In 1891, he moved with his family to Red Deer, homesteading in Balmoral. Charles originally worked in the construction business with his father, but later became a cowboy. In February 1900, he enlisted in the Lord Strathcona Horse with Angus Jenkins.
On September 4th, 1900, near Badfontein, South Africa, he was part of a small group of soldiers sent to assist an observation post which was coming under enemy attack. Trooper Cruickshank and Sergeant Brothers were in the front of the relieving party. When their company was forced to withdraw, they were found to be missing. Later that night, when the observation post was recaptured, the bodies of the two men were found.
Charles Cruickshank was buried by Rev. Webb Peploe, formerly of Calgary, in a grave at the headwaters of the Crocodile River.
Archibald McNicoll was born in 1876 in Bruce County Ontario. He moved with his family to the Balmoral district in the spring of 1891. The McNicolls started Red Deer’s first market garden. Archibald later became a cowboy, In February 1900, he responded to the call to serve “King and Empire” and enlisted in the Lord Strathcona Horse in Calgary.
In June 1900, he became severely ill with enteric (typhoid) fever. He died at Newcastle, South Africa on June 19th. He is buried near the site of the army hospital.
There was a large plaque at the Red Deer Regional Hospital which commemorated the fact that the Red Deer Hospital was originally dedicated to these three young men who lost their lives while serving their country. When Alberta Health Services took over the management of the Regional Hospital, it was taken down. It now resides at the Red Deer Museum.
Empowered, Happy and Healthy
Michelle lost a kidney to cancer 20 years ago. Her blood pressure has been challenging to keep in a healthy range since. A busy life with little focus on healthy got her in trouble. In late December 2020, she ended up in emergency with extremely high blood pressure in the 200/150 range and a blood sugar of 25. She was very sick. She had a second similar episode in January. At that time, she was let go from her job. This turned out to be the best thing that happened as she now had time to focus on her health.
The RDPCN family nurse recommended she attend Diabetes the Basics as well as providing her with ongoing one-to-one support for several months. She also got connected to a weight management program, supervised exercise and Heartwise.
Fast forward to 18 months, she has decreased her clothing size from 20 to 14. Her blood sugar is now 7 and her blood pressure is in the range of 138/95. Great improvements!
She is back to work. She walks about an hour per day and she feels amazing! She has used the portion control plate to help improve her eating habits. She is eating way better and enjoying it. One thing she could not give up was Pepsi. She used to have at least 3 cans per day. Now she uses Diet Pepsi in much smaller volumes, but she cannot get by without some Pepsi. Long-lasting insulin and using the Libre sensor have been great tools to help her live healthily. She feels very empowered, happy and healthy!!
Learn more about the Red Deer Primary Care Network. Click here.
Red Deer Recovery Community will offer hope for residents from Central Alberta and around the world
Central Albertans won’t be the only ones paying close attention to the official opening of the Red Deer Recovery Community next month. According to Marshall Smith, Chief of Staff to Premier Danielle Smith, jurisdictions from across North America will be looking to the Red Deer Recovery Community for potential answers to their own issues. Red Deer Recovery Community will be the first of 11 the province is opening over the coming months.
Cities across North America and beyond have been battling an addictions crisis, and losing. As the number of homeless people and the number of fatal overdoses continues to rise, cities are looking for new solutions. After years of slipping further behind, Alberta has decided on a new approach to recovery and Marshall Smith has been leading the charge.
Smith is a recovering addict himself. A political organizer from BC, he once worked for former Premier Gordon Campbell. His own crisis started with alcohol, then moved to cocaine dependency before he eventually succumbed to methamphetamine use. The successful political operative found himself without work and living on the street for over four years. Eventually he benefited from a 35 day stay in a publicly funded recovery centre in BC.
Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney brought Smith to Alberta to head up the UCP’s addictions and recovery file. His personal experiences and incredible comeback story are at the heart of Alberta’s new approach.
While the success of recovery programs vary, Marshall Smith and Dr. Christina Basedow of the Edgewood Health Network (operators of Red Deer Recovery Community) say with the right treatment and the right amount of time, they expect a very high rate of successful recoveries. Smith says the province won’t give up on patients, even if some have to go through more than once.
The Recovery Community is central to this new approach, but patients who will be able to stay for up to a year, will need somewhere to go when they leave. This week the province also announced the Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program in Edmonton. This “second stage” housing will ensure former addicts have a place to stay upon leaving addiction treatment centres. This will be their home in the critical days following treatment when they need to reestablish their lives by finding work or educational opportunities.
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston feels the 75 bed Recovery Community will be transformation for Central Alberta. Mayor Johnston says all Central Albertans will play an important role in helping former addicts when they leave the Recovery Community.
Construction of the Red Deer Recovery Community is all but complete.
Thursday, municipal and provincial politicians toured the facility and were introduced to the operators of the new facility. Dr Christina Basedow, Western VP of Edgewood Health Network teamed up with Nicholas Milliken, Alberta’s Mental Health and Addiction Minister, to take questions about operations.
Premier Danielle Smith made the trip to Central Alberta to offer support for the project and see the facility first hand.
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Premier Danielle Smith listen to Chief of Staff Marshall Smith
In the days leading up to an official opening expected in February, Edgewood Health Network is finalizing the admission process which will see the first batch of up to 75 people suffering addictions moving into single and double occupied rooms.
The new 75-bed facility, will begin accepting residents battling addictions in February. Those residents will stay for up to a full year accessing medications, programming and developing life skills.
In the meantime the province expects a recovery industry will be developing in Red Deer including second stage housing opportunities and counselling.
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