Al was born in 1922 and lives in Kamloops. He fought in Europe as a pilot where he flew 44 missions before being shot down after a bombing raid on the Opel Car Works in Russelsheim, Germany. He spent 268 days in a prisoner of war. Al endured interrogation, torture and was one of the soldiers involved in the 1,000-mile march from Breslau to Bremen, before finally being freed by Allied forces in 1945. He served the Canadian Armed Forces for 26 years, taking on many duties until he retired as a Lt. Col. in 1970. But his battles weren’t over. Al didn’t know about a pension supplement that had been set up for veteran POWs in 1976. When he did learn about the supplement in 1991, it took 13 years to get money owed him. He credits MP Betty Hinton for her assistance. “Betty has been working awfully hard. I give her a lot of credit.”
Mel was born in 1944 and raised in the Okanagan Valley, Mel Rothenburger is a descendant of Hudson’s Bay Company Factor Donald McLean of Fort Kamloops. Rothenburger most notably became editor of the Kamloops Daily News. Having known former Kamloops mayor and evangelist Phil Gaglardi since Gaglardi was a controversial Social Credit cabinet minister in 1970, Rothenburger wrote a biography of the ex-Highways Minister, Friend o’ Mine (Orca Books, 1991). Rothenburger’s earlier books were ‘We’ve Killed Johnny Ussher! The Story of The Wild McLean Boys and Alex Hare (Mitchell Press, 1973)’ and The Chilcotin War. The father of the ‘Wild McLeans’–Allan, Charlie and Allan; some of the most notorious outlaws in B.C. history–was the HBC Factor Donald McLean. He was Mayor of Kamloops, from 200 to 2005 and returned the Kamloops Daily news until retiring in 2012. Rothenburger continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, does regular commentary for CBC Radio and writes a blog at http://armchairmayor.wordpress.com .