10.03.17 / news
Sponsored by Iristel, the performance at Invictus Games combined veterans, actors and real-life counsellors to shed light on challenges faced by many returning home
TORONTO, ON – October, 3, 2017 – Iristel, Canada’s fastest-growing carrier, proudly sponsored Contact! Unload, a theatre piece featuring Canadian Armed Forces veterans who share their stories as they transition home post-deployment.
More than 150 guests attended the performance at the Moss Park Armoury, including speakers Don Cherry and former veterans affairs minister Erin O’Toole.
The play has been performed over 20 times and highlights the sacrifices of men and women in the armed services as well as educating audiences of the support they require when returning home. It was co-written, directed, and performed by Canadian Veterans who served overseas in Afghanistan.
“Iristel is very proud to have sponsored Contact! Unload, we truly believe in this program and the positive impact it has on its audiences,” said Samer Bishay, CEO of Iristel. “It is imperative to have these services available for veterans – something that this performance makes very clear. We will surely continue to support these types of initiatives.”
Each performance offers an expressive vehicle for veterans to publicly examine their struggles and experiences in transitioning from active service to civilian life. Six military veterans, alongside an actor and a musician are featured in the moving and eye-opening performance.
(Don Cherry gives his patented “Thumbs Up” to the military, along with performers and other participants of Contact! Unload. Iristel CEO Samer Bishay is standing far left.)
"Iristel showed tremendous leadership tonight,” said Stephen Gregory of Canada Company, a charitable, non-partisan organization that builds bridges between community and business leaders and members of the Canadian military. It’s one thing to sponsor these performances, but it’s another thing to bring more than 100 business leaders out to support the troops.”
The performance and mural are the result of collaboration between Theatre Director Dr. George Belliveau, Art Director Foster Eastman, and Lead Clinician Dr. Marvin Westwood. Contact! Unload provides veterans an active medium to support one another upon returning home from war. The Veterans Transition Program uses a therapeutic enactment group counselling model to better communicate challenges in order to overcome them.
Tim Laidler, Contact! Unload performer as well as Canadian veteran and community advocate (pictured above right with Samer Bishay and Steve Gregory) commented: “It makes me proud to be a Canadian seeing all the support for the military community through the Invictus Games and especially at the performance of Contact! Unload. The veterans that preform each night do it so that anyone in need of support feels more able to reach out when they struggle. With the help of Iristel, that message came through loud and clear!”
After the performance, Iristel hosted a cocktail reception where guests and performers were treated to hors d’oeuvres and live jazz music. It was here that Samer Bishay was “coined” by current and former members of the military. Under military tradition, coins are given as gifts of honor, respect, gratitude and loyalty.
Iristel is Canada’s largest and fastest growing carrier. We’re committed to changing the way people communicate, and improving the way they work — connecting employees, devices and applications, to support greater collaboration and better performance.
Founded in 1999, Iristel operates one of Canada's largest facilities-based voice networks extending coast to coast to coast. Iristel offers a host of communication services, such as, cloud voice and carrier services, as well as a suite of services both domestically and internationally. These include wholesale voice, data, 911, SMS and platform services that are supported by Iristel’s unified VoIP and GSM networks. It is the majority owner of Ice Wireless, a facilities-based mobile network operator that delivers state-of-the-art 3G/4G/LTE-A technology to rural and remote areas in Canada’s North.