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October 29, 2003
Toronto Paramedics deliver booster shot to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics have sent a big thank-you
to Canadian Forces troops stationed in Afghanistan.

'Operation Booster Shot' started after Toronto EMS paramedic Sarah Zourdoumis
mentioned that her brother, Aesop, and his fellow soldiers missed some items
they couldn't get in Kabul, like powdered drinks and candy. "Sending a
thank-you package would be a great way to show our soldiers abroad that people
here are thinking of the sacrifices they are making," said Zourdoumis.

The project involved placing donation boxes in all Toronto EMS stations to
collect non-perishable goods, like magazines, licorice and gum that Canadian
Forces soldiers serving in Afghanistan can't get abroad. Paramedics asked
corporations and other EMS services for contributions. The donations were taken
to CFB Montreal today and will be flown to Afghanistan as a thank-you to our
Canadian troops serving there as part of Operation Athena.

"My grand-uncle, who passed away almost two years ago, served with the Canadian
Forces during WWII. He landed on D-Day and helped liberate Holland. I came upon
letters from the families that had billeted my grand-uncle and other Canadian
soldiers," said paramedic Steve Henderson, who was motivated to take a
leadership role in Operation Booster Shot after going through his grand-uncle's
memoirs. "The letters were poignant reminders of what a soldier needs - a
lifeline to his family and friends."

Marco Colabella, Henderson, Zourdoumis and other medics picked up donations at
EMS stations. Colabella approached Costco for a donation and used it to
purchase items needed to round out the package. The Toronto Blue Jays responded
to Dispatcher Shane Smith's request with a gift of 1,000 baseball hats. Jamie
Rodgers secured a big donation from Mac's Convenience Stores. Shamez Kassam
inspired his Niagara EMS paramedic colleagues to join in.

"I am truly amazed at how well things have unfolded with this effort. It was a
spur-of-the-moment project that many people helped with. Paramedics,
dispatchers and staff volunteered their time and goods. It was great seeing
everyone's efforts given the tight schedule," said paramedic Marco Colabella.

"I encourage everyone to remember our Canadian Peacekeepers and Soldiers as we
approach Remembrance Day. The sacrifices by these brave men and women are no
less deserving of remembrance," added Henderson.

Canadians can send greetings to our soldiers in Afghanistan by sending a
postcard with words of encouragement and support addressed to:

Any Canadian Soldier
Operation Athena
P.O. Box 5006 Station Forces
Belleville, ON K8N 5W6

Or you can post a thank-you message via the internet at the 'Write to the
Troops" Web page on the Canadian Forces Web site:

Media contacts:
Larry Roberts, Toronto EMS, 416-392-2255
Peter Macintyre, Toronto EMS, 416-392-2069



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