Thanks to Giving

“It’s about what I know you can give”

Article by 17160 Stephen Kalyta

Thanksgiving, for me at least,  seems to represent a perennial time of reflection. This year, like many years before it, I reflect upon the enormous influence the College has had on my life. It is hard to imagine how the proverbial stone, (attending CMR) dropped in still waters, continues to reverberate at the fringe of my life experience, some thirty years later.

I also reflect on the late, great, Mark Walden, whose impressive size was matched by an even larger heart. Not only is he credited with surviving me as his COMSEC at CMR, he equally instilled in me a sense purpose by challenging me to re-engage in post military activities in 2007.
I resisted. The timing was terrible, I was in the throws of divorce, my children mere babies and I once again faced another tumultuous career change on the mean streets of Toronto. Of course, being my friend, he knew all of this and still had the audacity to expect me to join Pinnacle, a network group for ex-military people looking to transition to civilian jobs. Pinnacle of course was co-founded by two ex-cadets,  Mark Walden and Don Ludlow. Pinnacle later evolved into Treble Victor (3V).  3V is credited with helping host INVICTUS and has assisted hundreds of ex-military find careers over the years.
My protests and resistance to Mark was met with quiet resolve. Mark simply said, “Maybe my request is less about what you need and more about what I know you can give.” Of course I looked up at his his 6 foot 5 inch stature and accepted defeat both physically and mentally. I could not have known how giving to others would launch the rekindling of so many friendships. Nor could I imagine having a company in 2018, co-founded by Micheal Della Fortuna, whose sole purpose is to solve the global crisis in waste plastic contaminating our environment. This is a stark reminder we are stronger together than divided and no challenge is too great for RMC graduates.
The unintended foreshadowing of one of history’s greatest leaders is captured by these immortal words, ”  Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  It was Winston Churchill who said it, and I think many graduates demonstrate it every day. To all of you, I salute, and give thanks for your Giving. SK

One Comment

  • Anita Walden

    October 10, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Hola from Mallorca Stephen. I am Mark’s mother and was forwarded the article yesterday. It was the last thing I read before turning out the lights. My heart swelled with pride as I read your kind words about my son. I can only assume you were at his celebration of life but do not recall if we met. He was a beautiful human being and we lost him far too young. It is friends like you who knew him, respected and loved him that will keep his memory alive. Thank you for taking the time to write in. I receive the magazine and will see it when I return to Canada. I will try to contact you when I am back. I have moved to Ottawa as you may know. My husband (RCR) is at the Perley and Rïdeau Veteran’s hospital. Life at times does not seem fair. I lost my husband to illness and my son the same year…both fine men. It is only because of family, friends and the Regimental family that I have managed to proceed with strength and grace in this new chapter of my life. Again thank you for sharing your story and paying tribute to Mark.