The Heroes Force Story
Shannon Thibodeau (Canadian Forces Member), an Aircraft Structures (ACS) Metal fabricator Instructor from CFSATE, 16 WING Borden, Ontario, has designed and created the first Canadian Soldier Action Figures.
They are all based off of real Canadian soldiers, $1.00 from each one sold will go to the Soldier On Fund in Ottawa to help out injured and fallen soldiers families. These figures are known as the “Heroes Force™” collection. 6,000 first editions figures were produced and the majority of them have been sold with only a few remaining. He presented one to our Honourable Peter MacKay, Minster of National Defence, and to Col Wood, his last Commanding Officer of 16 Wing.
Shannon has had 3 tours, 2 Afghanistan and Europe, so he has seen what so many military members had to overcome, himself being one of them. This is his way of honouring the sacrifices our present and past military members do that protect our great country. He has stood on parade behind 2 families of fallen soldiers on his first tour back to Canada in Trenton and again in November 2004. This figure he created is not just a toy; it is a never forgetting memory of our CF members of what we represent to our children, Veterans, Families and the world around us. These Heroes Force™ action figures are my gift for Remembrance of all present and past military members. Lest We Forget.
Nova Scotia Connection
John Alan Sperry, who is a freelance graphic designer from Truro, Nova Scotia and a good friend of Shannon Thibodeau, helped bring the vision of Heroes Force™ to life with his computer illustrations of Shannon, (which all the figures are modeled after). For this project, John is responsible for creating all of the artwork that the action figures and their packaging are manufactured from, as well as the Heroes Force™ logo.
Think Drink Inc. Connection
Think Drink Inc. (TDI) is a product development company which serves the North American beverage industry producing items that create awareness, increase sales and develop memories. TDI takes concept ideas for any type of product, and designs, engineers, prototypes, safety tests and mass produces these items either in Canada, USA or in Asia.
Scott Watson, half owner of TDI was approached by Shannon Thibodeau at a birthday party (attended by their sons who are playmates) when Shannon became aware that Scott was in the product development business. Scott lent an attentive ear because he comes from a long line of military personnel.
His father Walter Watson was a decorated Warrant Officer in the Canadian Forces seeing combat in both World War II and the Korean War and wore the uniform for over thirty years. His brother is currently serving in the Canadian Navy as a Captain.
Scott discussed the action figure concept with his friend and business partner of ten years Peter Luchak. After careful review, the Think Drink Inc. team thought that Shannon’s Heroes Force™ idea deserved serious consideration because: a collectible would honor the Men and Women of the Canadian Military and their families; the figure would raise money for Soldier On fund; and the action figure was within the realm of the TDI product development experience. TDI decided to underwrite the cost of the entire project understanding that the prospective interest of this undertaking was based solely on Shannon’s “gut feel” and belief in a “potential market”. Scott ambitiously set the wheels in motion in both North America and in China to bring the product to market.
Based on Scott’s guidance, Shannon quickly got his friend John Sperry to work on figure designs based on today’s Canadian Military soldiers in the three aspects of the forces, Army, Navy and Air Force. After many modifications, a year of work and countless pre-production samples Heroes Force™ was ready to go to production. Since not many retailers jumped on board initially, and because of the costs associated with three original new products, the first order was limited to 6000 pieces as a one-time “Collector’s Edition” series. The initial sales efforts started with word of mouth selling.
Soldier On Fund
The Mission: Provide resources and opportunities for serving and retired Canadian Forces personnel with a permanent or chronic illness or injury to actively participate in physical, recreational or sporting activities.
The Vision: To be a world class leader, recognized for improving the quality of life of ill and injured military personnel and their families, and the defence community as a whole by inspiring them to adopt an active lifestyle.