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28-year-old Patrick Labrie was from Buckingham, Quebec, near Ottawa and had served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for six years. In 2019, he was taking part in Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE in Bulgaria where he was deployed with his unit, 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, based at Garrison Petawawa.
During the joint multinational airborne field training exercise involving 5,600 troops from eight nations, something went horribly wrong, as a sudden static line failure resulted in an uncontrolled descent. Patrick sustained fatal injuries.
As a way of coping with her grief, his mother, Julie Rivard, wrote a book about his life.

“I wrote this book for Patrick’s memory to live on, but also to encourage children and teens that if they have a dream to do something, they should go for it, like Patrick did when he joined the CAF. While in the military, Patrick continued to persevere to become every day a better soldier because he had found his calling in life,” says Julie.
At Patrick’s funeral, Julie raised money for Soldier On. “My family decided to support Soldier On because Patrick loved life and the outdoors. He also loved being physically fit and active. Soldier On helps injured soldiers and Veterans to regain love of fitness, sport, and activity, so I know he would be happy with our choice.”
The idea of writing a book about Patrick came to Julie a few months after the funeral. Her niece, Arianne Collin, an art teacher in secondary school, volunteered to illustrate the book.“When I started, I intended it to be a book for children aged 6-12, but I’ve been getting great feedback from teenagers and adults as well, who love the book,” says Julie.
Writing the book has been instrumental in helping Julie with her grief. “The best part is all the new people I’ve met. It’s great to see how they enjoy the book, and it gives me a chance to talk about Patrick and keep his memory alive.”
Patrick the Paratrooper (Les ailes de Patrick) is out now and available in both English and French. The price is $20 including tax, and Julie will donate $7 from the sale of each book to Soldier On. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, please send an email to

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