The very least I can do to repay my immense debt of gratitude to the gallant MGH/MUHC CICU staff: CF-104 "MGH CICU"
My 1:32 scale (21.44" long) rendition of Canadair CF-104, seen in the photograph in its custom-made display case, is on permanent display at the Montreal Aviation Museum. On the fuselage of the first MGH CICU model I will be building for the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, 1:32 scale CF-104 "MGH CICU", "MGH" will replace "704", and "CICU" will replace "RCAF". The second and last model, not necessarily a CF-104, could be amended to your specifications.
Why will this first model end up on my workbench?
I recently suffered a heart attack/life-threatening respiratory distress which, mercifully, did not paralyze me, thus allowing me to continue building model aircraft, a passion described on my website, Heritage Model Aircraft (https://www.heritagemodelaircraft.com/).
However, everything I do now requires some additional planning, and takes a tad longer to accomplish. Incidentally, my airbrushing respirator mask reminds me of the bipap oxygen mask I had to wear for three long days at the hospital; that bipap mask, and its associated forced breathing equipment, was instrumental in saving my life.
Heroes one and all: the CICU staff
The real heroes are the nearly one hundred members of the MUHC, especially those from the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) Coronary Intensive Care Unit (CICU) staff, whom, over the course of my 2-month hospitalization, brought me back to life; my appreciation and esteem for their dedication grew exponentially with each passing day; due to Covid-19, they were risking their well-being (and that of their families), all for total strangers.
I had to do much more than simply thanking them verbally. Contributing to their X-mas party was out of the question ("No X-mas party; Covid-19"). In any case, that concept felt too impersonal to me. At first, I had a thought: print 12-month calendars, using photographs of my models for each month (which I since had done at Staples). However, I still wished to do more. By the end of my stay, my aircraft modelling activities were known to many staff members, so I proposed building a 1:32 scale CF-104 Starfighter, and gifting it to the CICU for display in their station, 11th floor West, at the MGH. Appropriately, Starfighter sums up succinctly the CICU's staff courage and fighting spirit; to boot, the CF-104 Starfighter is my favorite Cold War era aircraft. Estimated completion date: April 17, 2022.
And my point is?
I am determined to help the Foundation to the best of my ability, by building one, and only one, additional commissioned model for a well-heeled philanthropist to help raise much needed funds; it is the very least I can do.
My current model aircraft production schedule takes me to early 2026, and from anyone else I will not accept, at any price, one additional commission, except for the Foundation. The build process averages 9 to 12 months, depending on the aircraft. I mostly model WWII and Cold War era RCAF, RAF, and USAAF/USAF aircraft, preferably in 1:32 scale, after extensive research; do you have a family member who flew in such an aircraft? Commissioning an exhaustive research and scale model of that aircraft as a family heirloom would be a unique way to commemorate their service.
I would like to do all I can to support the medical teams mentioned above; please help me in doing so by making a donation to this online fundraiser. I will be donating the entire amount raised by the sale of the model to the Foundation.
To learn more about my team and myself, read the article written by my alma mater at https://www.heritagemodelaircraft.com/about-me and to contact me about purchasing the model please email me at email@example.com.
Additionally, most of the recipients of the eight models currently on my production schedule have agreed to make substantial donations to the Foundation. I am contributing, and invite others to do the same.
Thank you for considering such investments,
Gilles Pepin, MBA
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