Official portraits of Col Vass and CWO Durnford

Colonel John Vass Commander 4 CDSG and Chief Warrant Officer Jack Durnford 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major

Holiday Message from the 4 CDSG
Commander and Formation Sergeant Major


Posted on Thursday December 17, 2020

With the holiday season upon us, Chief Warrant Officer Durnford and I wanted to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to you, your families, and our neighbours in the Upper Ottawa Valley and Pontiac, Quebec.

2020 has certainly proven to be a challenging year for all of us. While we continued to achieve our mandate of providing institutional support to all Army Formations in Ontario and our lodger units here on the Garrison, in a lot of cases, we also had to adapt to a remote work environment. You should all be extremely proud of your accomplishments as we collectively supported numerous international deployments and their pre-deployment and annual training which enabled the absolute success of the 4th Canadian Division. It is not lost on any of us that your efforts have been significant considering we are also battling a global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen in over a century. As one of Canada’s largest operational bases and the fact that you, our Defence Team Members, have willingly stepped up to the plate in an unprecedented environment, I believe that you have all demonstrated to your fellow Canadians that you can be relied upon to look out for their safety and welfare regardless of the challenges that must be overcome. For that, we thank you! I would also like to thank the many contractors on Garrison Petawawa who continue to work extremely hard, day in and day out, ensuring that our major capital projects continue to progress and our existing infrastructure is maintained.

As you well know, many activities looked different this year. Change of Command events that normally included unit and formation parades, became small virtual ceremonies. Important community events were cancelled and even many of our day to day operations had to be done remotely. Remembrance Day ceremonies were watched from home, meetings are being done with masks or virtually; however, you have all demonstrated versatility, adaptability and commitment because you continue to deliver the highest quality of support to this Division.

Many of us are wondering what the holidays will look like this year considering the restrictions and risks on travelling and gathering sizes. While it is difficult to know what the future holds we all need to be considerate of the provincial and regional health protocols that are in place. Everyone’s situation and holiday traditions are somewhat different, so regardless of your normal, I would urge you all to take advantage of online meeting tools to stay connected with family and friends if you cannot be with them physically.

For many of us this is a joyous time of year, a time for fun and relaxation. For others, the holidays can be very difficult. I would ask that you stay in contact with your friends and family and be aware of the multiple resources that are available if you, or a loved one, needs assistance. Strengthening the Forces, CAF Connection, Life Speak and other resources are support services for members. The families of CAF members can access similar support services through CFMAP, the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre and the Family Information Line. If you or one of your family members feels the need to make a call, please do it!

To the surrounding communities, please accept our most sincere “thank-you” for your continued support. When the operational units stationed on the Garrison resumed training earlier this year, it was done with a vengeance. Returning with a time sensitive and aggressive training schedule, the amount of activity on the Garrison and the surrounding area was significant. We appreciate how supportive you have remained and that you took the disruptions in stride. It is the exceptional support of our communities that makes Petawawa such a special place to work and live.

To all Defence Team Members, when you are out enjoying your well-deserved leave over the holiday season, please be disciplined with your Force Health Protection Measures that have kept us safe so far. Remember, COVID doesn’t care that you are on leave – stay vigilant, stay healthy and stay safe.

In closing we would like to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season, we look forward to making 2021 another fantastic year in Garrison Petawawa.

J.D. Vass Colonel
Commander 4 CDSG

A.J. Durnford Chief Warrant Officer
Formation Sergeant Major