Jennifer Making 150 Count!
My name is Jennifer Trydal and I was selected for RBC Make 150 Count. As a part of being selected I was given a hundred and fifty dollars to give back to the community.
To honor my great-grandfather’s memory, I decided that Valour Place was without a doubt the community service organization that I wanted to contribute to. With the help from RBC make 150 count as well as donations from close family and friends I was able to provide perishable food items, quilts, bus tickets, movie passes, gas gift cards, batteries, as well as dryer sheets.
My hope was that these donations can help The Valour Place to continue to thrive and provide accommodations for all law enforcement and military members that have contributed to our country seeking medical attention.
My biological mother faced a lot of addictions and when I was born her foster mom (my grandmother) decided to care for me for the first five years of my life. My grandmother Lorraine Trydal (maiden name Rycroft) has made a significant impact on my life and has contributed significantly to the person I am today. Lorraine’s father, Daniel Franklin Rycroft and his wife Violet Rycroft were also heavily involved in my life growing up.
On May 5th 1944 my great-grandfather Daniel Rycroft was a pilot in WWII in a raid over Germany. While in flight over Boult Aux-Bois, France the left side of his plane exploded into flames. He was ejected from the plane and his chute lodged himself into trees. After listening to stories of airmen being shot out of trees he took his chances and cut himself away from his shoot causing him to fall fifty feet to the ground. It knocked the wind out of him and broke two ribs and or crushed the seventh vertebrae in his back. He managed to drag himself five hundred yards to the nearest village, little did he know he was crawling back towards a German occupied town in France. Luckily some local French farm boys found my grandfather and were able to help hide him till nightfall. Around ten o’clock pm on August 28th, 1944 Robert and Germaine Bocquet were able to take Daniel into their home and hide him in their attic. After tending to his wounds for over a month and continuing to hide him from the German soldiers it was determined that he was healthy enough to plan his escape. They provided Daniel with a map and showed where the nearest allied army was, just on the outskirts of Paris. Robert and Germaine risked everything as at any point in time they could had been caught by the Germans. On September 26th the doctor came in that morning to take Daniel to Riems where the American army had an airfield and see if he could catch a ride back to England. Saying good-bye to Robert and Germaine was an emotional and difficult departure because he had grown very close to his new French family.
After a long stay in the hospital my great-grandfather Daniel Rycroft recovered. He returned to Canada and had six children, eighteen grandchildren, and forty-four great-grandchildren. The courageous efforts of both Robert and Germaine and the entire community of Belleville allowed Daniel and Violet Rycroft to build a strong and loving family and a legacy that honours the commitment to the men and woman who risk their life to ensure our freedom. I am part of that legacy. The risks that Robert and Germaine took to hide and protect my great-grandfather has created a lifelong bound between two families that has extended across three generations. After raising his children my great grandfather was finally able to save enough money to revisit the people in Belleville, France in 1986. My grandmother, uncle and aunt have also been to Belleville, France on three other occasions to meet the children and grandchildren of Robert and Germaine Bocquet.
My great-grandfather was diagnosed with Cancer and in 2011 he had passed away. My great-grandfather was a fortunate man to have been taken in by Robert and Germaine and to have been able to return to Canada after the war and lived a happy fulfilling life.