22 Wing North Bay welcomes its new honorary colonel

News Article / August 4, 2020

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22 Wing North Bay Public Affairs

On July 23, 2020, the members of 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay welcomed Peter Chirico as their new honorary colonel. Colonel Mark Lachapelle, commander of 22 Wing and Canadian Air Defence Sector, presided over the virtual ceremony, which boasted hundreds of spectators from across Canada and the United States.

“I am incredibly humbled to be welcomed so warmly by the members of 22 Wing,” said new 22 Wing Honorary Colonel Peter Chirico “I have spent my entire life in North Bay and I deeply respect the role the military plays in the city. My role is "honorary and advisory" and over the next few years, I will apply the same kind of loyalty, commitment and service-before-self as displayed by my predecessor, while learning from and listening to the members of 22 Wing.”

Mr. Chirico is president and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce. He assumed the role in April 2017 and was a senior commercial banker for over 32 years. His banking career took him and his family across Ontario, finally returning to his hometown of North Bay in 1994.

In 2000, Mr. Chirico was elected to North Bay City Council as a councillor and served 12 years as an elected official. In 2004, 2008 and 2012, he was elected to the role of Deputy Mayor and Budget Chief for the City of North Bay. After a three-year stint as managing director of Community Services for the City of North Bay, he semi-retired, until the position as president and CEO of the Chamber became available.

Mr. Chirico has served on most of the agencies, boards and commissions within the City of North Bay and has been a volunteer for most of his working career on many worthwhile not-for-profit agencies both locally and provincially. In 2012, he was the recipient of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s Circle of Honour award for Advocacy in the Province.

“First, let me begin by thanking George Burton for four incredible years of selfless service as the 22 Wing Honorary Colonel,” said Colonel Mark Lachapelle, 22 Wing and Canadian Air Defence Sector Commander. “Thanks to his tireless efforts, our local Armed Forces Day has grown to be the largest of its kind in Canada, successfully building that bridge between members of the military and the community of North Bay. Next, I welcome Peter Chirico to the 22 Wing family. Not only has he put service before self as elected city official and, later, as president and chief executive officer of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, he is a proud member of North Bay. He advocates for the city at the provincial level while creating and nurturing his family right here in North Bay. We look forward to working with Honorary Colonel Chirico in the coming years, strengthening the bonds between the City of North Bay and the members of 22 Wing.”

With an average term of three years, an honorary colonel is a civilian member of the local community. The appointment serves to develop and strengthen the ties between military elements and their local community businesses, industries, and labour.

The most well-known effort attributed to the Honorary Colonels at 22 Wing, past and present, is the incredibly successful Armed Forces Day. Their tireless efforts and commitment to their roles as a bridge between the military and the community of North Bay and surrounding area has ensured its success for almost 10 years.

More than 225 distinguished Canadians have served the Royal Canadian Air Force through the Honorary Colonel program since 1970. There are some 70 appointments throughout the RCAF at any one time. Appointed by the Minister of National Defence, honorary colonels act as advisors to unit commanders and become key members within the air force environment.

22 Wing/CFB North Bay boasts the support of three honorary colonels: Corina Moore, recent addition as the 21 Aerospace Control & Warning Squadron honorary colonel, Jake Lacourse, 51 Aerospace Control & Warning (Operational Training) Squadron honorary colonel and now Peter Chirico, 22 Wing Honorary Colonel.

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