Members of Hazel Fausak’s family were beaming last Saturday (March 11) as more than 200 people filled the Alberta Aviation Museum to honour her memory.
“She would be so thrilled,” said Valerie Boyer, Fausak’s daughter. “She fought so hard to have this [histry] out there.”
During World War II, Fausak left her home in Evansburg and travelled east to become a radio operator for the wartime Ferry Command. She sent coded messages to Allied aircraft flying over the North Atlantic. Fausak, who died last year at the age of 93, was one of two pioneering women of aviation honoured at the annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week ceremony.
Lois Argue, the other honouree, joined the RCAF and was the first woman working at Blatchford Field as a medical assistant, tending to the tens of thousands of airmen enrolled in the British Commonwealth Air Training Program. Argue is 96 and was not able to attend the ceremony.
“Lois and Hazel did not go higher, farther and faster than other aviation pioneers, but they are true heros,” says Lech Lebiedowski Head Curator of the AAM. Lebiedowski was born in Warsaw. The Polish capital was devastated by the Germans during World War II.
“If it was not for Lois and Hazel, I may not have been here today to express my gratitude in helping to end the worst war in history.”
The event also featured two key-note speakers. Captain Elizabeth Williams, a helicopter pilot with 408 Squadron at the Edmonton Garrison, talked about her career in military aviation. Rosella Bjornson, Canada’s first female airline captain also spoke about the challenges facing her as a woman in an mostly male profession. Both urged young women to consider aviation as a career.
“More than anything I have found in my career,” said Williams, “is that all anyone cares about is your competance and your ability to perform.”
Three girl guide troops also took part in the event, helping them to complete the requirements for their aeronautics badge.
The museum extends its thanks to all staff ,volunteers and other participants who made the day a great success.
(Photos by Lech Lebiedowski and Steve Finkelman)
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