For the fourth year, the go-to restaurant in Petawawa, ON, for shawarmas, Madameek, held its Free Shawarma Day on Dec. 14.
The event is held annually by the Diab family, owners of Madameek, in memory of their fallen son, Trooper Marc Diab, and all fallen soldiers.
Thanks to social media, the town of Petawawa was buzzing with excitement for this year’s Free Shawarma Day, and according to Fadi Diab, partner and son-in-law of owner Hani Diab, people were lining up outside the restaurant well before the 11 a.m. lunch time.
The Diab family served their classic menu of shawarma, rice, potatoes, soda and dessert free of charge to almost 500 customers.
It’s become a Christmastime tradition in the town of Petawawa, something the Diab family does to share their son’s memory and the holiday season with soldiers of Garrison Petawawa and the community at large.
“We wanted to do a gesture to keep up trooper Diab’s memory in the Christmas period, and his family said giving a free shawarma to the town is just saying thank you for our continuous support of the family, thank you for believing in us, thank you for keeping Marc’s name alive in Petawawa,” said Fadi.
It was a lifelong passion of Marc Diab to join the military that finally came true in June 2004 after he became a Canadian citizen. Diab was posted to Petawawa with the Royal Canadian Dragoons and often told his family that he wanted to open a shawarma place in Petawawa one day.
Not long after joining the military, he was deployed to Afghanistan.
On March 8, 2009, Marc became the 112th Canadian soldier to be killed in action when a roadside bomb exploded next to the vehicle he was travelling in. He was only two weeks from returning home.
One year later, the family brought Diab’s dream to life by opening Madameek and relocating to Petawawa.
Since then, the family and the restaurant have become an integral part of the community.
“We believe this is something ongoing, whether it’s shawarma or something else, to keep his memory alive.
“I think we’ll keep on doing it as long as we’re here,” affirmed Fadi.