Fort Henry to welcome new Honorary Guard Commander

Major-General Lewis MacKenzie will be welcomed as the new Honorary Guard Commander at Fort Henry National Historic Site later this week. Image provided by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.

Distinguished Canadian, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, CM, CMM, OOnt, MSC, CD (Retired) is set to carry on a long-standing tradition by becoming the official representative to Fort Henry National Historic Site as its new Honorary Guard Commander this month, with a farewell to the Honourable Hugh D. Segal, OC, OOnt, CD, Fort Henry Guard #4, who has held the position since 2006.

With a striking repertoire of accomplishments, and after a 36-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces, Major-General MacKenzie’s courageous leadership and perseverance will be significant to the morale and esprit-de-corps within the ceremonial life of the dedicated Fort Henry Guard, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission said in a media release, dated Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.

A graduate of Xavier Junior College of Sydney, Nova Scotia and the University of Manitoba, he is celebrated for his lessons on leadership, years of expertise on conflict resolution and delivery of humanitarian aid under the most difficult of circumstances, according to the release. During his military career, he served nine years in Germany with NATO forces and commanded peacekeeping tours of duty in the Gaza Strip, Cyprus, Cairo, Vietnam, Central America and most prominently known for his committed efforts in Sarajevo in the former Republic of Yugoslavia under the United Nations Protection Force in 1992. 

“Fort Henry is proud to have Major-General MacKenzie as the Fort Henry Guard’s Honorary Guard Commander,” said Geoff Waycik, Director of Historic Sites. “He has truly demonstrated the remarkable ability to assume these responsibilities and prevail in challenging circumstances, all while exuding exemplary leadership. We are privileged and grateful to have an inspiring Canadian Armed Forces veteran lead as representative of our national historic site.”

According to the release, Major-General MacKenzie has received worldwide publicity and acclaim for his personal involvement in organizing and directing the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid brought into Sarajevo during this period, while at the same time negotiating between the warring factions on behalf of the United Nations. This ultimately enhanced the reputation of both the United Nations and Canada.

For his lifetime achievement in protective services, he was named a member of The Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour. He became the first Canadian, military or civilian to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. He earned the respect and appreciation of many nations for his uncompromising commitment to operations, accomplished leadership, and spirited cooperation. He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1993.

His book, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, was a #1 bestseller, and the award-winning documentary based on it, A Soldier’s Peace, has aired in over 60 countries. His follow-up book, Soldiers Made Me Look Good: A Life in the Shadow of War was released to critical acclaim. 

St. Lawrence Parks says he will be serving as a role model to preserve and promote both the Fort Henry Guard and Fort Henry. A Change of Command ceremony will be streamed on Facebook Live from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 21, 2021. Watch it here:

According to the release, attendees at the ceremony will include the former Honorary Guard Commander the Honourable Hugh Segal, Chair of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) Board of Commissioners the Honourable Bob Runciman, SLPC General Manager and CEO Hollee Kew as well as the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada President Michelle Foxton.

In the release, Fort Henry, in conjunction with the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada, extend their sincere appreciation and gratitude to the fourth Honorary Commander of the Fort Henry Guard, the Honourable Hugh D. Segal for his dedication and contributions throughout the past 14 years of commitment.

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