Operational Service Medal Awarded to WO Loverin

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Article / May 26, 2016

By Capt George Romick, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment

Thunder Bay, Ont. - Warrant Officer Craig Loverin of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment received the Operational Service Medal for his services during Operation RENAISSANCE on March 13, 2016 at the O’Kelly Armoury in Thunder Bay.

WO Loverin was part of Joint Task Force Philippines/Op  RENAISSANCE in which he acted as a Liaison Officer for the municipalities of Cuartero and Libacao in the Provinces of Capiz and Aklan in the Philippines from Nov 25 to Dec 26, 2103.

Being of Filipino descent was an asset to WO Loverin, as he was familiar with the language and the culture of the people.    “Just being half-Filipino to them was enough. It meant a lot to the people of the Philippines, especially because they didn't realize that there were Filipinos in the Canadian Armed Forces,” he mentioned.

The devastation from Typhoon Haiyan was the deadliest in the nation's history and one of the most powerful ever throughout the world. More than 6000 people were killed in the Philippines and many others were left homeless.

 “It was literally like someone stepping on your house and crushing it to the ground,” said WO Loverin.   “But the people there, even though they were slapped by the worst typhoon in the world, were still smiling. It was probably the worst conditions they could have possibly been in but they'd smile at you and continue building their house. It was really heart-warming to see.” 

WO Loverin, who also served in Afghanistan, said that watching the response of the country’s children provided a sense of hope.  “I think a lot of people see the devastation and how the people are struggling; but you look at the children and the situation they're in. I went to a couple of schools and at that point they were in reconstruction.  They were still going to class every single day – but their school happened to be crushed, or the roof was gone – and they were carrying on with life.”   

 “The reconstruction was centred on rebuilding schools to keep the children busy giving the parents some extra time to rebuild the homes, and to get back on track to restoring a normal life and routine,”  WO Loverin said.

WO Loverin’s experience in the Philippines provided him with a valuable opportunity to discover some of his roots.   “It was an eye opener for me. I learned a lot about the culture itself, more than what I had been taught when I was a kid. It was definitely a learning experience.” 

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