This year the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, presented over 75 Canadians the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for their outstanding service to Veterans and their dedication to Remembrance Week.
The commendations were presented over the last few months during ceremonies taking place in Vancouver, Montreal, Que, Halifax, N.S., Richmond, B.C., Ottawa, and Mount Hope, Ont.
At the ceremony in Montreal, the minister noted, “Today, we recognize nine individuals for their outstanding work for Canada’s Veterans. Whether you support your local branch of The Royal Canadian Legion, organize commemorative events, or lead research for new therapies, your dedication has enriched the lives of Veterans and their families. It is my privilege to present you the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.”
The Commendation is awarded annually to Canadians that have contributed in a distinguished manner to the care and well-being of Veterans and/or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices, and achievements of Veterans. The Commendation is intended primarily for Veterans, but non-Veterans may also qualify as recipients.
During the ceremony held on June 24, 2019, retired Lieutenant-Commander Steven St. Amant from Bouliers, Nova Scotia, also received a Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Commendation. The 30-year Veteran of the RCN, Mr. St. Amant, has continued to make significant contributions to the research to identify military personnel from both the First and Second World War.
Mr. Amant has successfully identified three servicemen killed in the First World War and is now working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the United Kingdom Archives to identify the missing sailors from HMCS Athabaskan, a sunken ship off the coast of France.
At the ceremony held in the Vancouver in July, military spouse, Kathryn Linford was recognized for her service during her husband’s career, along with co-founding Wounded Warriors Canada Couples Overcoming PTSD Every Day (WWC-COPE) Program.
Along with being an administrator for the program, Linford has also participated as a support spouse during several of the sessions. She also speaks to spouses of ill and injured Veterans on a weekly basis.
At a ceremony at the end of July, veteran Dan Peter Draper was awarded a commendation. Released from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997, Draper moved his family back to their home area of Greater Sudbury.
After a career in service to Canada, Draper focuses on helping his fellow Veterans. As the area administrator for the UN/NATO Veterans of Canada, he has been responsible for a new generation of Veterans visiting schools for remembrance services as well as conducting full remembrance services for local schools and youth groups.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation was created in 2001 by Warrant of the Governor-General and with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Each recipient receives a certificate and a lapel pin for civilian wear and a bar for wear with decorations.
The design is a gold maple leaf resting on a red poppy—a flower long associated with the sacrifices of war—with the Royal Crown on the top of the pin.
Below are community members from across the country that received the Minister of Veteran Affairs Commendation.
Congratulations to all the members of our community that were recognized for their dedication, work and contribution to our community.
Top Image: The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation is presented annually to Canadians who display an outstanding commitment to bettering the well-being of Veterans and promoting commemoration and remembrance within their communities. On July 16, 2019 the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence presented 11 Canadians from British Columbia with commendations in a ceremony in Surrey, British Columbia.
Veterans Affairs Commendation from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec recipients
Trevor John Baer – Plattsville, Ontario
Mr. Trevor John Baer is the committee lead for the Private Tyler W. Todd Memorial Wounded Warriors Hockey Tournament. This annual tournament is in its ninth year and has raised in excess of $210,000 for the Wounded Warriors organization. The first tournament was organized in less than one month and was a three‑on‑three tournament. In 2016, more than 430 players participated in the tournament at either the four‑on‑four or youth ball hockey events.
As the tournament grows, so do public attendance and media coverage. Over 5,000 spectators attended last year’s tournament. Mr. Baer treats his responsibility as committee lead as a year-long commitment; as one tournament ends, he begins the search for new sponsorships and prizes for the following year’s tournament. Although the main objective of the tournament was a memorial to Mr. Baer’s lifelong friend, Private Todd, it now also raises awareness of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) issues faced by current-serving members and Veterans. Mr. Baer’s efforts in promoting the tournament, honouring his good friend and raising funds for a worthy cause that helps Veterans are beyond reproach.
Andrew Peter Barber – Mississauga, Ontario
Mr. Andrew Peter Barber is a Royal Canadian Navy Veteran who served on a number of ships, including HMCS Haidaon its second tour to Korea. He is a member of the Friends of Haida Board of Directors and Vice President and Director of Haida Volunteers. He is also the Recording Secretary for the Korea Veterans Association Unit No. 26 in Hamilton, a member of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 (Mississauga), the Recording Secretary of the Burl-Oak Naval Veterans, the Chairman of the Veterans Committee of the Halton Naval Veterans Association and the Duty Veteran at Citizenship Court Ceremonies in the greater Hamilton area.
Mr. Barber assists individual Veterans and Veterans’ organizations with compassion and dedication. After returning from Korea in 2010 as part of the Revisit Program, he felt that the story of the fantastic change and rebirth in South Korea needed to be told here in Canada. As Chairperson of the Korea Veterans Association, Republic of Korea Memorial Committee, Mr. Barber helped raised funds for the design, construction and installation of a monument to the eight destroyers that served in Korea from 1950 to 1955. In July 2014, the monument was unveiled at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Ontario. Mr. Barber continues to organize the ceremony, which takes place each year in July.
Warrant Officer (Retired) Michael Boudrias – Meaford, Ontario
Mr. Michael Boudrias has over 33 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring at the rank of Warrant Officer.
Since serving, he formed the Meaford Chapter of the Canadian Veterans Freedom Riders Motorcycle Club, for which he was named President. He has grown this club to 23 members, and they have participated in many projects within their community, such as influencing the Mayor of Owen Sound to name a municipal park in honour of Corporal Robert Thomas James Mitchell, and to install a flagpole usable for lowering and raising the flag during ceremonies. They have raised thousands of dollars that have been donated to local organizations who support Veterans, cadets, homeless shelters for Veterans, food banks, and Camp Maple Leaf.
Camp Maple Leaf is a not-for-profit, sleepover camp for children of Canadian military families and children living with unique challenges. Mr. Boudrias has spent countless hours organizing and providing logistical support for Camp Maple Leaf donation events by the Canadian Veterans Freedom Riders Meaford Chapter.
His personal approach to helping his community has prevented Veterans from falling into despair and has helped Veterans in making ends meet. He continues to put time and effort toward ensuring the Canadian Veterans Freedom Rider Motorcycle Club meets its mandate of helping those in need.
Major (Retired) Harold (Hal) Buller – Oakville, Ontario
Since his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2012, Mr. Harold Buller has been a volunteer member of the Commissionaires Ceremonial Marching Unit. The Marching Unit parades at military and civilian parades across Southwestern Ontario. In his position as Flag Party Commander and Regimental Sergeant Major, he gives his time to teach other members drill to ensure the Marching Unit is a cohesive group on parades.
Mr. Buller volunteers as a member of 32 Signal Regiment Advisory Council. The aim of the Advisory Council is to assist the Regiment and its associated units, such as the Army Cadet Corps and the band, by advising and offering support to the Commanding Officer. The Council raises money to benefit activities and projects of the Regiment that are not supported by funds from the Canadian Armed Forces. The Council also provides scholarships for post-secondary education and supports the Regiment’s website and newsletter.
His efforts as a volunteer extended to being a Civilian Instructor with the Oakville Army Cadets and helping the Oakville Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion with fundraisers for Veterans and cadet units. Also part of the Warrior’s Day Parade Council, he assists with the planning, communications and operations for the parade, which opens the Canadian National Exhibition every year.
Mr. Buller is a member of the Friends of the Haida and spent time on board as a volunteer crew member/docent, mostly in the radio room, sharing his training and experience by providing explanations and demonstrations of the history of military communications.
Reverend Dr. Francis Chisholm – Hamilton, Ontario
Reverend Dr. Francis Chisholm is a Veteran of the Second World War, serving with the Seaforth Highlanders of Scotland.
Since 1964, Reverend Chisholm has been a Padre of the Royal Canadian Legion and countless other Veteran organizations in the Hamilton area. He has been conducting Remembrance Day Chaplain ceremonies and many other commemorative events and Chaplain services for over 50 years.
He regularly visits Veterans and cancer patients in St. Joseph’s Health Care and Hamilton Health Sciences to provide spiritual support and comfort.
Reverend Chisholm actively posts on a community event calendar all remembrance services and events in Hamilton and surrounding areas to inform the Veteran community and the general public of upcoming commemorative events.
John William Pattison Cook, C.D., SBStJ – London, Ontario
Mr. John William Pattison Cook is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff Course at the Canadian Army Forces Staff College in Kingston and served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1964 to 1966 and from 1969 to 1991. His service to his country did not end with his retirement however, as he has four decades of volunteer service to Canadian Veterans to his credit. He is currently the second Vice President of The Royal Canadian Legion Vimy Branch and a member of the Zone No. 6 Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund. He is a key organizer of the local Remembrance Day parade and ceremony at the cenotaph and is a primary contact for community organizations that want to have Veterans involved in community events, such as Canada Day celebrations and school visits. Mr. Cook also produces a monthly Military Calendarfor the London area that he circulates to individuals and organizations to keep Londoners informed about military events and observances in the area.
Mr. Cook is on the Board of Directors of both the 4thBattalion Royal Canadian Regiment and the 32nd Brigade Communication Regiment, in addition to being a member of The Royal Canadian Regiment Association and the Airborne Association.
Mr. Cook was the second Vice President of the Garrison Community Council from 2002 to 2017, the Chair of the Veterans Memorial Parkway Community Advisory Board from 2011 to the project completion in 2017 and a member of the Canadian National Exhibition Warriors’ Day Parade Council from 1990 to 2014. He was also the Chair of the Western Fair Warriors Day Parade Council from 2002 to 2017 where he was responsible for coordinating the annual “Warriors Day” celebration at the Western Fair, which sees Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members participate in a parade through the fairgrounds.
Romeo Daley – Fort Erie, Ontario
Mr. Romeo Daley is a proud Veteran of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) who served during the Korean War. Today, he serves as the President of the Korea Veterans Association Unit 15 Niagara, as well as being the Sergeant-at-Arms for the PPCLI Association of Canada.
Every year he visits schools in his area to teach students about the Korean War and Canada’s numerous peacekeeping missions.
He was part of the executive of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 71 in Fort Erie for many years, where he helped organize commemorative events and Korea Veterans Association appreciation luncheons. He was the keynote speaker for the Korean War Photo Exhibition in Toronto, was a guest speaker at the Canadian Parachute Association and has been interviewed by the Korean media as part of the Memory Project and the Veteran Story series.
Mr. Daley has spread the word about Canadian troops and their efforts in the Korean War and overseas service. He reminds people that the liberties, rights and privileges we all enjoy are the result of the selfless actions of those who fought and died for Canada and her allies. He shares this message of remembrance to ensure that current and future generations will never forget.
Colonel (Retired) Robert G. Douglas, C.D., KStJ – Coldwater, Ontario
Retired Colonel Robert G. Douglas is a Veteran of the Malaya Emergency (British Army) and served in the Canadian Armed Forces since 1946, when he joined his high school Cadet Corps serving as its Commanding Officer. Following the cadets, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves in 2 Field Engineer Regiment and later the Royal Regiment of Canada in Toronto.
Mr. Douglas’ greatest contribution is to the Veterans at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre. For the last 25 years, he has served on the Veterans Advisory Committee of the Sunnybrook Hospital Board where he was responsible for many projects that were a great support and comfort to the Veterans. His initiative to obtain electric wheelchairs that could accommodate different body shapes, sizes and disabilities of Veterans was researched by medical and marketing specialists. When completed, a new type of chair was manufactured that accommodates various medical problems. Regretfully, the project was too complicated for mass production, but M. Douglas says, “If you don’t try, you can’t win.”
Mr. Douglas was also an active member of Commissionaires Great Lakes Financial. He was part of a committee that raised over $50,000 for a private, secured garden for Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, a wonderful feature that Veterans can enjoy.
Mr. Douglas is also on the Executive Council of Honorary Colonels, assisting Veterans with civilian employment and education using his connections in the business and educational communities. As well, he is Vice Chair of Commissionaires Great Lakes where he is directly involved in finding security jobs for Veterans who are leaving the Canadian Armed Forces.
Dan Peter Draper, C.D. – Val Caron, Ontario
Mr. Dan Peter Draper was released from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997, at which time he moved his family back to their home area of Greater Sudbury. After a career in service to Canada, his attention is now focused on helping his fellow Veterans. As the area administrator for the UN/NATO Veterans of Canada, he has been responsible for a new generation of Veterans visiting schools for remembrance services as well as conducting full remembrance services for local schools and youth groups.
It was Mr. Draper’s initiative that partnered the Sudbury Wolves Junior Hockey organization with military groups in the Greater Sudbury area for a Remembrance service at centre ice at the start of the last home game prior to November 11. Mr. Draper sought sponsors to donate money for tickets to the game and arranged for Veterans and family members to receive nominal fee tickets. He worked tirelessly at putting his vision into action, which has resulted in an established annual event in Sudbury.
Mr. Draper is also responsible for another annual event that recognizes United Nations peacekeepers and NATO Veterans in the community. This event honours a new generation of Veterans and also raises awareness of these unsung heroes.
Major (Retired) Daniel Eustace, C.D. – Harrowsmith, Ontario
Retired Major, Daniel Eustace served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 29 years, both as a Reservist and as a Regular Force member. He served in operations in Canada, including the ice storm of 1999 and with NATO forces in Afghanistan, as Chief of Training in the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters’ Counter-Improvised Explosives Devices Branch. Mr. Eustace also served in Turkey, Guatemala, Germany, Serbia and Kenya, in roles designed to assist NATO parties, allies and other forces to gain critical knowledge in various operational spheres. Lastly, during his service, he played a significant role in the tragic, but necessary, duty of repatriating the fallen from overseas operations that included aspects of the Highway of Heroes and the immediate care of fallen comrades’ families.
Mr. Eustace is a long-standing member of The Royal Canadian Legion, where he ably assisted Veterans at Sunnybrook Hospital’s K Wing and helped with remembrance services in downtown Toronto. He is now a member of his local Legion branch in Sydenham. At Sunnybrook Hospital, he organized and participated in outings for resident Veterans to visit the Canadian Forces College in order to interact with staff and students. Mr. Eustace has recently formed a committee at his local Legion branch to identify, catalogue and display a large quantity of historical material.
As editor of the Royal Canadian Military Institute publication SITREP, Mr. Eustace has repeatedly incorporated material in support of Veterans’ services at Sunnybrook, and most recently, Veterans Affairs Canada. He also supported the Royal Canadian Military Institute’s involvement in the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
Having retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in June 2016, Mr. Eustace is in the process of successfully transitioning to civilian life, while remaining actively engaged with the security and defence community through his work at the Canadian Forces College and the Royal Military College. As well, he is actively seeking new ways to connect with Veterans in his community.
Faye Falshaw – Milton, Ontario
Ms. Faye Falshaw has been a Legion member at Colonel Alec Thomson Branch 82 in Port Credit for over 20 years. She is known as being a powerful advocate for The Royal Canadian Legion and for Veterans. She has been an active member of the Branch Executive for over 17 years, particularly in the role of Youth and Education Chair. This position called on her to perform many duties including organizing the longstanding tradition of the annual literary and poster contests. Through her efforts, she has involved many local school children in helping to promote the Remembrance Day service and has shown them the importance of honouring our military heritage and fostering remembrance.
Ms. Falshaw always goes above and beyond the call of duty by organizing additional events on top of the traditional contests. For instance, she raised awareness in local schools by organizing “Meet a Vet Day” and a kindergarten parade. Mrs. Falshaw has also served as a Service Officer, where her duties included advising and assisting Veterans and their spouses with Veterans Affairs Canada’s benefits and services. Mrs. Falshaw often thinks outside the box when getting Veterans the care they need. For example, she recently arranged for high school students who needed volunteer hours to help an Allied Veteran by shoveling snow and raking leaves. This is typical of Mrs. Falshaw’s determination to help Veterans and their families.
Ms. Falshaw has spearheaded the “Home of the Free, Because of the Brave,” t-shirt awareness campaign. Money raised through the program is donated to “Operation: Leave the Streets Behind” and, since its inception in 2008, the program has raised over $7,000.
Detective Inspector (Retired) Philip Edwin George – Barrie, Ontario
Mr. Philip Edwin George is a Veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, having served for 39 years, and he deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Afghan National Police Force Training Team.
As the Veterans Service Officer with Branch 147 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Barrie, he volunteered a lot of his time to help Veterans access programs, care and services. He also organized the annual Remembrance Day parade and took care of the Poppy Trust Fund and all responsibilities associated with the annual Poppy Campaign as Chair for both programs.
He helps manage Branch activities such as the weekly dinners, financial aid to Veterans and various organizations, Veteran visits and remembrance services.
He was elected President, and for two years he has dedicated time to the Branch Ladies Auxiliary to help coordinate their events and arrange visits with Veterans. Since his tenure as President ended, he has continued to provide guidance and training to the new Branch Executives, ensuring they successfully deliver on the Legion’s mandate to care for and support the Veteran community.
Thomas Davey “Dave” Gordon – Aurora, Ontario
Mr. Thomas “Dave” Gordon, a 36-year Veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a former Canadian Forces Staff College instructor, has been a dedicated volunteer since the late 1950s.
Since 1993, he has served as a volunteer with the Armour Heights Officers’ Mess as their President, and he has been a volunteer member of the American Institute of Navigation, the Bruce Trail Association, the British Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Canadian Military Institute. He has also volunteered his time to motivate and challenge youth to aspire to a career in the Canadian Forces through Regular Officer Training Plan and Non-Commissioned Trades application.
During his time in service, Mr. Gordon continually took the opportunity to support local cadet programs through visits and logistics to permit local Commanding Officers to encourage and nourish citizenship among youth – Canada’s future leaders. His Air Transport aircrew career assignments provided much opportunity to meet young people across our large country.
Since 2009, Mr. Gordon has volunteered as a member of the Commissionaires Ceremonial Marching Unit, marching at parades across the province to pay respect to and raise awareness of Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He also volunteers his time with the Ceremonial Unit by attending monthly meetings as a member of the executive committee. When requested, Mr. Gordon attends the funerals of Veterans as part of the Commissionaires Honour Guard.
Brian Charles Harding – Ottawa, Ontario
Mr. Brian Charles Harding is currently a Constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a Sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces and received the General Campaign Star for his service in Afghanistan. Mr. Harding is a member of The Royal Canadian Legion and previously volunteered with youth in the Royal Canadian Army Cadet program in the Yukon.
Mr. Harding has long provided assistance and support to wounded Veterans and service members at risk of mental health problems. In 2013, Mr. Harding, in partnership with Daniel McInnis and Jordan Irvine, developed an idea to help Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans across Canada. The “Send Up the Count” campaign was launched on Facebook in November 2013 and continues to this day. “Send Up the Count” stemmed from a military command given on patrol, where each soldier in turn reaches out and taps the soldier in front and announces their presence. The initiative engages Veterans or current-serving military personnel to reach out virtually, by telephone or in person, to check in with fellow military personnel and Veterans and provide referrals to medical and mental health providers in their area.
Mr. Harding’s work with “Send Up the Count” has significantly improved supports to military personnel and Veterans and, in at least one case, saved the life of a Veteran at immediate risk of suicide.
Dr. Alis B. Kennedy, C.D., O.Ont., O.M.C., Ph.D – Woodbridge, Ontario
Dr. Alis B. Kennedy is a Métis Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, serving from 1970 to 1983 with the Royal Canadian Navy.
Dr. Kennedy was the first woman and Veteran as Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the International Knightly Order of St. George Foundation. The aim of this organization is to help support by financial means personnel, Veterans and families of the Canadian Armed Forces. She is also a member of the Warriors’ Day Parade Council and is the Métis Veterans liaison officer across Canada; since 2017 she is also one of the judges at the Parade. She is an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 165, a member of the Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones and a former Senator for the Métis Nation of Ontario Veterans Council. In 2017, she was elected as the founding Leader of the Warriors and Veterans Society of the Métis Nation of Canada.
In 2011, Dr. Kennedy was one of the two Knowledge Keepers of the Black Bear Aboriginal Youth Program Culture Camp of the Canadian Armed Forces at Canadian Forces Base Borden. In 2013, she was selected as the first francophone and Métis Counsellor of the Black Bear Aboriginal Youth Program Culture Camp and the Army Reserve recruit course held at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, where she also participated in progress review boards to determine if recruits should be kept or released after inappropriate behavior.
She represents Métis Veterans annually at the Queen’s Park Remembrance Day. She was also one of the 150 selected flagbearers from across Canada at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
Keith Michael Lawrence – Mississauga, Ontario
Mr. Keith Michael Lawrence is a 30-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who also served as a civilian member with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He served overseas with NATO in Europe and Southwest Asia and with the United Nations in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Congo. Mr. Lawrence has been active in the community for over 20 years in various capacities for the betterment of Veterans and all Canadians. He has been an active member of The Royal Canadian Legion for 22 years, where his efforts have centered on remembrance and assisting Veterans take part in services at municipal locations, cenotaphs, Legion branches and Sunnybrook Hospital. At the Veterans Wing at SunnybrookHospital, Mr. Lawrence was directly involved with the annual Christmas celebration for Veterans that included a military concert, gifts for Veterans and collecting donations of musical instruments for use in the therapy programs.
For years, he assisted the late Brigadier Ted Brown and the late Naval Lieutenant Owen Williams in conducting their duties at Soldiers’ Tower at the University of Toronto. He also collected medals for the small museum that is part of the heritage of Soldiers’ Tower and he worked on several projects of remembrance with the late Lieutenant Colonel Bert Pinnington, a Korean War Veteran.
While a manager at Coca-Cola, Mr. Lawrence quietly, without fanfare, hired seven Veterans or soon-to-be Veterans. He knew the skills that former service personnel possessed and he assisted them in gaining successful employment in leadership roles with a world-class company. This tangible demonstration of commitment to fellow Veterans speaks to his loyalty and commitment. In his new role as manager of a bus company, he provides buses to the Legion for use on Remembrance Day at no cost.
Marc Leroux – Blacklick, Ohio, USA
Mr. Marc Leroux is the founder and guiding spirit behind the Canadian Great War Project, a large repository of transcribed data about Canadians who served in the Great War. This project holds the records of over 176,000 Canadians who served in the Great War, including 18,000 pages of war diaries and 30,000 images. The site builds on the great work of other data sets like those of the Library and Archives Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by transcribing their digital images and linking their data sets. It is considered to be a comprehensive online research site for historians of the Great War. It is an essential point of reference for both academic and community historians alike.
In partnership with the University of Victoria Library, Mr. Leroux has agreed to preserve and enhance the website at no cost to ensure the long-term survival of the Canadian Great War Project, free access to the information and the continued involvement of community researchers. The enhanced site and search engine were unveiled during Veterans’ Week 2016. Mr. Leroux’s personal contribution, dedication and commitment to preserving the record of sacrifices made by so many Canadians are truly remarkable.
Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Michael F. Mihalus – Angus, Ontario
Mr. Michael Mihalus is a retired Master Warrant Officer with service in Germany and three tours of duty in the Middle East. He is now part of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping Central Ontario Chapter in Barrie and serves on the executive.
Through his work with the Association, he has helped raise thousands of dollars to enhance Peacekeepers’ Park and promote the history of Canadian peacekeepers. The funds for this initiative were raised through the Association’s annual Peacekeepers Golf Tournament.
Mr. Mihalus initiated the annual Christmas toy drive and is working on a school bursary to educate the young on Canadian Peacekeepers, as well Mr. Muhalus continues to support tributes to the fallen.
Inspector (Retired) Gary Miner – Barrie, Ontario
Mr. Gary Miner is a retired Inspector with York Regional Police and has served for over 40 years. His family has a history in the armed forces as his father served in the Canadian Armed Forces and grandfather with the British Expeditionary Forces during the First World War.
Mr. Miner makes the most of his spare time to volunteer towards supporting and remembering the military and Veteran community in the York Region. He volunteers with the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping and serves as the Chapter Secretary.
From 2010 to 2014, he spearheaded the Welcome Home initiative, where he would arrange to have a group of uniformed police officers, firefighters and, paramedics wait outside of the homes of members returning from Afghanistan and offer them a hero’s welcome.
As an active writer for the York Regional Association Magazine, he often contributes articles highlighting Veterans and peacekeeping initiatives.
He helped raise thousands of dollars for Peacekeepers Park by being a key organizer in the annual Plunkett Memorial Baseball Game and made presentations to the Memorial Committee to convince them to donate some of the proceeds from the event to Peacekeepers’ Park. He also collects donations from sponsors and promotes the annual Peacekeepers Golf Tournament to local companies by bringing to their attention the importance of the park in honouring Veterans.
In 2011 Mr. Miner, along with the York Regional Police, unveiled the Recognition Stone—a tribute to Canadian Armed Forces personnel, both past and present. The unveiling was attended by over 200 local Veterans, peacekeepers, firefighters and serving Canadian Armed Forces members. Mr. Miner was instrumental in raising the funds for the Memorial and coordinating the entire event. Furthermore, he leads an annual memorial service where the stone rests. He reaches out to the family of members who served in both the Canadian Armed Forces and the York Regional Police, arranging transportation to the ceremony for those Veterans wishing to attend.
Reta Mulholland Keeler – Orillia, Ontario
Recently, research in Canada has shown that the elderly population in Canada is growing increasingly lonely and isolated—this includes the Veteran population. This became apparent to Ms. Reta Mulholland Keeler (daughter of Second World War Veteran the late James T. Mulholland), when she became her father’s caregiver. Since her father’s passing, Ms. Mulholland Keeler has worked tirelessly to address these issues in Orillia.
During her father’s illness, Ms. Mulholland Keeler began visiting Veterans at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Orillia. She quickly discovered that there was no system in place to identify Veterans upon admission. Since that time, Ms. Mulholland Keeler has volunteered countless hours working with the hospital’s administration to make this change. Thanks to her efforts, the hospital’s new medical record system will include a Veteran identifier.
Ms. Mulholland Keeler also worked closely with the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit 400 to set up a Volunteer Veteran Visitors Program. This program has volunteers who visit Canadian Veterans in the local hospital, nursing and retirement homes and private homes. The creation of this program was no small feat, with many hours of meetings and phone calls dedicated to its development. Since the program began in 2014, more than 3,600 Veteran visits have taken place.
Captain (Retired) Robert Ough – Peterborough, Ontario
Mr. Robert Ough served as a Navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1958 to 1970.
As a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Air Force Association, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and the Peterborough United Services Institute, Mr. Ough is a key organizer and stakeholder of multiple services honouring Veterans each year. Throughout the year, Mr. Ough advocates for Veterans, drives them to events, visits with them and shares stories and ideas. He also educates non-Veterans on the traditions, history and culture of the Canadian Armed Forces. He speaks at Masonic meetings on the history of the Victoria Cross and arranges for notable guest speakers on military history to share their knowledge.
He volunteered to help organize a fundraising gala in support of the Hill 70 Memorial Project, which raised over $25,000. He was one of the key organizers behind the restoration of a 1950 F86 Sabre Jet at Riverside Park in Peterborough, which was re-dedicated in 2009. He also serves as a member for the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment Regimental Senate, offering guidance and advocating on behalf of serving soldiers and the Regiment’s Veterans.
Recently, Mr. Ough turned what was planned to be an administrative delivery of the French Legion of Honour to Second World War Veterans, into a fitting tribute by contacting the French Consul and Mayor’s offices to request presentation ceremonies for the Veterans. Through this effort, Veterans were honoured at a ceremony befitting their service rather than receiving their award through the mail, as had happened.
Brian Archibald Phoenix – Toronto, Ontario
Mr. Brian Archibald Phoenix is the immediate Past President of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada. He held the presidency from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Phoenix has advocated for Veterans through his lifetime. A Torontonian whose parents were both Veterans of the Second World War and members of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada, Mr. Phoenix is no stranger to the organization and, in his own words, “I grew up in the organization.”
In 2013, Mr. Phoenix retired from the Coast Guard after more than 34 years of service. With a continuous passion to help Veterans in any way he could, he became a member of the Executive for the Owl’s Unit 306 in 1998. After just two years, he was elected president of the Owl’s Unit 306 and he maintained this title until 2004. Mr. Phoenix continued to work for his unit as the immediate Past President, until a new President for the unit was elected in 2010. In 2005, Mr. Phoenix became one of the Dominion Vice Presidents of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada and is thrilled to have been a part of the Dominion Command advocating for Veterans. Over the past few years, he has chaired the Award and Constitution Committees and the Publicity and Public Relations Committee. Mr. Phoenix has attended two training sessions for service officers, which have helped him in his advocacy work for Veterans.
Invested in the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada since a young boy, Mr. Phoenix has only become a bigger voice over the years. He looks forward to the future growth and development of the organization that he holds in such high esteem.
Major Ric Rangel-Bron, C.D., SBStJ – Toronto, Ontario
Major Rangel-Bron is the Commanding Officer of 142 Mimico “Determination” Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron and Aide-de-Camp to the Honorary Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer. Major Rangel-Bron has been actively involved in recognizing and supporting Canada’s Veterans and still-serving military personnel for a number of years, and he demonstrates a remarkable dedication to this cause.
In Ontario, Major Rangel-Bron assisted with the planning and delivery of commemorative events for the 60thanniversaries of D-Day and V-E Day. He later joined the Committee tasked with creating Ontario’s Veterans Memorial and subsequently the Premier’s Ceremonial Advisory Committee.
In support of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed overseas during Christmas 2006, Major Rangel-Bron created “Operation Booster Shot,” which collected hundreds of cards, messages, books, magazines, candies and chocolates for troops serving abroad. The success of this initiative prompted Major Rangel-Bron to start the “Share a Cup with a Brave Canuck” program in 2008. This program encouraged Canadians to purchase a $10 Tim Hortons’ gift card and write a message to Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Over the next five years Major Rangel-Bron received, processed and shipped over 45,000 Tim Hortons’ gift cards to Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Afghanistan.
Through his civilian job with the Toronto Paramedic Services, Major Rangel-Bron provided medical support to families and participants of the repatriation of fallen Canadian Armed Forces members. He played a role in the renaming of Ontario’s Highway 401 to the Highway of Heroes. Major Rangel-Bron also led a medical team supporting 100 Veterans returning to Normandy in 2014 to attend Veterans Affairs Canada’s commemorative ceremonies and events.
Major Rangel-Bron is dedicated to ensuring that young cadets are educated on Canada’s contribution to the First and Second World Wars. As a Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Officer, he created, coordinated and led educational and cultural trips to the United Kingdom, France and Belgium for cadets in 2008, 2012 and 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Captain (Retired) Daniel Darryl Saugh – Thornhill, Ontario
Over the past 10 years, Mr. Daniel Darryl Saugh has been the Padré for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 344. He has consistently offered his services as Padré for Legion events, Veterans’ functions, weddings and memorial services. He visits with Veterans, supports programs offered at the Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and helps Veterans seek assistance in dealing with PTSD and reintegrating into society following their military service.
During the annual Poppy Campaign, he shares his experiences to audiences at the Legion. He can also be found speaking at various events in schools and the community about Veterans and their role in Canada’s military history.
He volunteers his services as a Chaplain for the Toronto Police and has done so for over seven years. He is also the Padré for the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association, conducting Remembrance Day and memorial services.
In addition, Mr. Saugh serves as a volunteer board member and Chaplain for the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation who serves first responders, veterans and their families.
Earl Patrick Shea – Toronto, Ontario
Mr. Earl Patrick Shea is a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and a practicing lawyer in Toronto, Ontario, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that those who served Canada are remembered and treated well. He has also volunteered considerable time to fundraising and events for the 48thHighlanders of Canada.
Mr. Shea’s commitment and dedication to commemoration is reflected in an impressive project he organized in November 2014 for the Law Society of Upper Canada, the governing body of lawyers in Ontario. Mr. Shea was moved by the number of lawyers who put their practices on hold in order to serve during the First World War. Many did not complete their studies and were never called to the bar as they were killed during the war. Mr. Shea spent countless hours researching these lawyers. He contacted their descendants and invited them to a posthumous call to the bar ceremony in Toronto. Prominent members of the military and the law profession were also in attendance. This remarkable event honouredthis special group of First World War servicemen, touched the families of the fallen, and inspired the Law Societies of Alberta and Newfoundland to hold similar events.
Mr. Shea’s commitment to honouring Canada’s Veterans and war dead continues with a project he is working on to place poppy markers at the former homes of Canadians who died during the First World War. He is also very dedicated to serving Veterans in Toronto, as he is working to establish improved outreach programs for homeless Veterans in the city and to establish a pro bonolegal network to assist Veterans with finding low cost or pro bonolegal assistance.
Joshua M. Thompson, C.D. – St. Catharines, Ontario
Mr. Joshua M. Thompson served in the Canadian Armed Forces from February 1999 until February 2016, retiring to pursue a career in law enforcement. A Veteran of the mission in Afghanistan, Mr. Thompson has for years been a tireless supporter of Veterans struggling with the burden of mental health problems.
Since December 2013, Mr. Thompson has been an instrumental volunteer with the peer support initiative, “Send Up the Count” an online social media campaign by current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces to reach out to comrades who may be struggling and at risk of suicide or other self-harm. He has worked tirelessly to help with the administration of a group of almost 12,000 members mostly composed of members of the military or Veterans community. He has done so without compensation or seeking recognition for his efforts. Through his tactful engagement with Veterans, many of them struggling emotionally, he has been essential in building and maintaining a community where military and Veteran peers can safely support each other through crisis.
In the time he has been involved with this campaign, Mr. Thompson has on several occasions been involved in identifying Veterans who were currently in crisis, reaching out to them and helping them while they accessed appropriate professional or peer support resources. He has been involved in several situations where members of the initiative, spread across the country, have had to identify and locate Veterans who were in the middle of active suicide attempts in order to get them police and emergency medical services. As a direct result of Mr. Thompson’s services, lives have been saved. He has continued to support struggling Veterans after their crises, providing support as a peer and helping them to find appropriate community and Veteran resources.
Robert Walsh, C.D., MB – Brampton, Ontario
Mr. J. Robert Walsh has spent the bulk of his life and multiple careers in service to others, mostly involving military members and Veterans. A Canadian Armed Forces Veteran, Mr. Walsh is a very active member of The Royal Canadian Legion, both as a member of the Executive Committee at Branch 15 and as branch Service Officer. He has sought out Veterans in need and works tirelessly to assist all Veterans. For example, Mr. Walsh arranges for visits to the Brampton Legion branch for the Legion’s provincial Service Officer and Veterans Affairs Canada case managers to meet with Veterans who cannot get to a Veterans Affairs Canada office to complete paperwork.
He also tracked down a homeless Veteran in Brampton, placed him into an apartment and continued to work with him to address his medical and employment needs.
Mr. Walsh negotiated a partnership between George Brown College’s Dentistry Program and the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command to provide Veterans with dental care they cannot otherwise afford. This initiative is now part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s, “Operation: Leave the Streets Behind” program. In addition, Mr. Walsh is the liaison between the Peel Regional Police and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 15 for the program and fundraises to provide care, gift hampers and gift cards for Veterans. Mr. Walsh was also part of a committee to commission Dixie Road as the Veterans Memorial Roadway.
A strong advocate for Veterans, Mr. Walsh was instrumental in organizing roundtables with government officials to bring to light the needs of Veterans. Mr. Walsh has been recently working to bring the resources of the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre to the Veterans and serving Canadian Armed Forces members of Brampton. He is an active member of the Lorne Scots Regiment Association and was a key member in the fundraising for the Regiment’s 150th anniversary in 2016.
Sergeant (Retired) Radoslaw (Roger) Weron Owen Sound, Ontario
Mr. Roger Weron has over 25 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring at the rank of Sergeant. He is a key component in the Canadian Veterans Freedom Riders of Owen Sound, currently serving as their Past President.
Mr. Weron maintains a webpage for the organization’s Meaford Unit and continues to produce films and photos in order to promote the cause of his association in helping Veterans and the general public. He has played an important role in fundraising events, golf classics in support of Veterans, and food bank donation drives. He also helps the local Cadet Corps, attends military funeral processions and offers financial support to Veterans and families in need.
The Canadian Veterans Freedom Riders Meaford Unit has flourished under the guidance and leadership of Mr. Weron. Despite his military commitments, he continues to put forth the time and effort to ensure the club’s mandate is met to help those in need.
Major (Retired) Alan Dale Woolley, C.D. – Fort Erie, Ontario
Retired Major, Alan Dale Woolley served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 39 years. Military service runs deep in his family—he is the proud descendant of an ancestor who protected Canada during the 1866 Fenian Raids and the 1870 Red River Expedition, the son of a Second World War Veteran and his daughter is presently serving as a Canadian Armed Forces member.
Perhaps it is Mr. Woolley’s own family history that sparked his interest in ensuring that military history and Veterans’ stories are captured and explored. He is the co-author of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment: A Reference Guide, explaining the history, customs and traditions of the Regiment. As administrator of the Regiment’s website for over 20 years, Mr. Woolley assisted Veterans to discover their own history and helped family members and descendants to discover the history and service of their loved ones. He performed a similar role as the volunteer administrator of the Multinational Force of Observers website, capturing individual stories and the history of this international mission. Mr. Woolley has given talks on military history and service at several branches of The Royal Canadian Legion and service organizations as well as at the Adventurer’s Club in Chicago as a special speaker. He assisted with the War of 1812 battlefield tours and, on a personal pilgrimage, traced his Regiment’s path during the Second World War through northern Europe.
Mr. Woolley is a supporter of many organizations including the War Amps, Wounded Warriors and World Vision Canada. He is associated with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and the Wounded Warriors Canada Veteran Trainers. Maj. (Ret’d) Woolley has been a member of The Royal Canadian Legion since 2010 and has represented Canada at Remembrance Day services around the world, including Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Jamaica and Kenya.
- Jonathan Andrew Donaldson – Carleton Place, Ontario
As a secondary school teacher, Mr. Jonathan Donaldson has ensured the schools in which he teaches take part in the Lest We Forget project, a joint venture between Library and Archives Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada to connect Canadian youth to Canada’s history.
He has delivered the project in a variety of classes over his five-year tenure as a teacher, and he is often the first teacher to bring it forward into the curriculum. This project provides students with a tangible understanding of the past by encouraging them to work with original documents from the archives or contacting living relatives or local historians. He strives to instill in his students a passion and curiosity for Canadian military history.
For the past 10 years Mr. Donaldson has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Lanark. He incorporates his experiences with the Lest We Forget project into Lanark’s training operations, ensuring this project reaches beyond the students in his classrooms. He organizes and leads overnight cenotaph vigils with cadets, often in areas with little to no cadet involvement. Their presence in these areas have helped to reinforce the meaning of Remembrance Day for both the community and the cadets.
- Chief Warrant Officer (Retired) Jules Drouin M.M.M. C.D. – Gatineau, Québec
After a tremendous career in the Canadian Armed Forces as a parachutist with the Canadian Airborne Regiment, Mr. Jules Drouin is now in business serving the military community of the National Capital Region with medal preparations and supplying military regimental supplies.
He has served a role in several organizations that honour Veterans, past and present, including the Royal Canadian Legion for over 48 years, the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping for 26 years, and the NATO Veterans Association for nine years. He has been a member of the Airborne Regiment Association of Canada since 1974, and he is a member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.
He was a major contributor to the research and development of 408 Squadron Museum and instrumental in the recovery of an original Lancaster Bomber fuselage, which was donated to the Museum for the Squadron’s 40th anniversary reunion. He played a leading role in researching and compiling of wartime history of the Squadron, such as sorties, crews shot down, Squadron decorations, as well as the names of those killed in action and those taken as prisoners of war.
Mr. Drouin was the organizer for the annual Paratrooper Memorial Service in Petawawa from 1995 to 2010. Over the years he has helped with the annual Poppy Campaign and volunteered in successful fundraisers for the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre and Ste. Anne’s Hospital.
As a lifelong member of the Airborne Regiment Association National Executive, he formed the Ottawa chapter in 2001 by locating former members of the regiment to join the new chapter and working hard to obtain its charter. He organized many of the Association’s events, most notably the ceremony for the 35th anniversary of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus. Mr. Drouin has represented the Airborne Association over the past 10 years as their representative for the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.
- Janet Marie Gaylord – Lansdowne, Ontario
Mrs. Janet Marie Gaylord served as the Youth Education Officer at the Royal Canadian Legion in Gananoque for the past 10 years, spreading the message of remembrance to youth in many schools within the area.
In 2006, she saw the need to commemorate the 30 men from the Lansdowne area who lost their lives in the World Wars and Afghanistan. She raised over $20,000 from the public and the municipality to create a Veterans Memorial Garden. Much of the design and work has been done by Mrs. Gaylord and her family, and she has taken the responsibility for maintenance and gardening. The memorial includes four granite benches dedicated to local soldiers, an interlocking walkway in the center of the garden with a plaque reading “For All Who Served” and a new addition in September 2018 of four large, granite plaques inserted into a steel arch at the garden’s entrance. The plaques list the names of those who died in the cause of peace. In addition, stones were laid in the ground bearing the names of the 240 local men and women who served in Canada’s military.
Mrs. Gaylord conducted all of the research on the fallen and the Veterans, and she organized the September 22nd 2018 dedication ceremony. She has devoted much of her time over the past 12 years to ensure the Veterans Memorial Garden is worthy of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country.
Mrs. Gaylord arranged for tulips to be planted at the Gananoque Town Park and the Lansdowne Memorial Garden to mark the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands. She has been a member of the Gananoque Choral Society, continues to conduct the Lansdowne Remembrance Day ceremonies with the more than 400 students and 200 community members and has served as the 1st and 3rd Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Legion in Gananoque.
- Gilles LeVasseur O.Ont, C.D. – Ottawa, Ontario
Mr. Gilles LeVasseur has been a volunteer with the Veteran community for the past 30 years.
For the past 22 years, Mr. LeVasseur has been bringing Veterans to Remembrance Day events held at Beechwood Cemetery and taking care of them throughout the day. He also ensures they are guests at the Château Laurier reception for Veterans.
He was a Director on the Board of Directors for the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation for two terms. He was actively involved in fundraising events in support of Veterans, including a wall honouring those who served in the Second World War, which allowed private businesses to financially support activities of the Veterans’ programs at the residence. Thousands of dollars have been raised in support of the long-term care of Veterans.
He has published a book on the Battle of Vimy Ridge in both official languages to be distributed to schools across Canada, and a second book will be published shortly that summarizes Canada’s battles during the First World War. He also assists Veterans by providing them with information about programs, health benefits and social activities and by making sure they receive the help they need. He participated in organizing events at the French Embassy to collect funds at the “Vimy Reception” to support fundraising efforts for the new Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and to fund the education program.
During Veterans’ Week, he can be seen giving presentations, speaking at educational institutions, and visiting schools and communities to provide a better understanding of the contributions of Veterans to Canadian history.
- Lieutenant (N) Jeffrey Lura D. – Ottawa, Ontario
Mr. Jeffrey Lura is a serving member of the Royal Canadian Navy, having achieved the rank of Lieutenant (Navy). He is now in his 14th year of service.
Mr. Lura has a long history of supporting Veterans in his free time, having done so over the past 20 years. From his years as a cadet until today, his efforts have grown over time.
He has been a member of the Vancouver Military Dinner Society since 2013. The goal of this event is to raise awareness of Canadian Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ issues amongst the business community of Vancouver and raise money for charities such as such as Honour House and Wounded Warriors Canada.
He serves as the society’s Communication Officer and Naval Representative. He also volunteers many hours to run the Society’s various communications programs and social media accounts, providing free graphic design, monitoring and messenger services. Leveraging his naval connections, he ensures maximum participation in the annual event.
- Shirley O’Connell – Perth, Ontario
Mrs. Shirley O’Connell, better known as the new Izzy Doll Mama, has been volunteering for many years devoting her talents and energy to a remembrance cause touching the lives of thousands of children in war torn countries across the world. Izzy Dolls continue to be made in honour of the late Master Corporal Mark “Izzy” Isfeld, a soldier who died while removing land mines in Croatia. He was known for distributing the dolls his mother crocheted to the children he came across.
Mrs. O’Connell has taken command of the operation since the death of Carol Isfeld in 2007. She has made countless presentations at schools, women’s groups, and senior care facilities. She oversees the logistics of pickup and coordinates with military groups that deliver the dolls overseas, and she leads workshops where teens learn about the dolls and make some of their own.
Under Mrs. O’Connell’s leadership, Canadian women and students have contributed thousands of dolls to the program. Other charitable organizations have also collected and distributed large numbers of dolls.
The Izzy Dolls program has become a great Canadian humanitarian tradition and a fitting tribute to peacekeepers like the late Master Corporal Isfeld.
Veterans Affairs Commendation recipients from Atlantic Canada:
- David Flannigan – Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. David Flannigan is the Immediate Past Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion and has been a part of the organization since 1975.
Mr. Flannigan is active in supporting his community and assisting local Veterans. He organizes and participates in the Remembrance Day activities and has also held several awards and recognition dinners for Veterans in Labrador City.
He ensures that isolated Veterans receive visits, meals and care. He has also served as the Branch Service Officer to assist Veterans and support their needs.
Throughout Mr. Flanningan’s life the care and recognition of Veterans has been central to what he does. His outstanding support of veterans is well known in the veterans community.
- Petty Officer, 1st Class (Retired) J. Gaylord Kingston – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mr. J. Gaylord Kingston is a 30-year Veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, retiring in 1982. He was a charter member of the Atlantic Chief and Petty Officers Association in 1988 and has been the President for the past 20 years. This organization would have folded if not for Mr. Kingston’s efforts. He has organized several reunions to bring old comrades together, including the 2018 reunion.
He arranges for the Veterans at Camp Hill Veterans Hospital in Halifax to be visited on a regular basis, and he organizes monthly visitations with music, tea, coffee and treats. He organizes the Christmas visit to the hospital and ensures every Veteran receives a gift from the Association.
Each summer he attends the Sea Cadets Camp in Cornwallis to present the Best Cadet Award on behalf of the Atlantic Chief and Petty Officers Association.
- Janet Gorman – Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia
Mrs. Janet Gorman is a retired Officer, Chief of Operations with Canada Border Services Agency. She is a member of the Executive of the Nova Scotia Division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Veterans’ Association and sits as one of the Directors of the Support and Advocacy Committee. Mrs. Gorman was instrumental in the design and development of the Support and Advocacy Program in the Nova Scotia Division and for the RCMP Veterans’ Association nationally.
Mrs. Gorman and her husband Victor have organized and delivered information workshops on a bi-annual basis in the province for RCMP Veterans, associate members and spouses, serving and retired military personnel, along with serving RCMP members and their spouses.
Mrs. Gorman presides over monthly meetings of the Support and Advocacy Committee to improve service deliver to the membership and to explore new avenues and share experiences from challenges presented by various benefit streams. She provided current documents and information to populate the Nova Scotia RCMP Veterans’ Association website with references for the membership, including web links and items of current interest, including workshop material from all professional presentations.
The objective of the Support and Advocacy Committee is to provide awareness of the services and assistance available to those in need of a better quality of life. Mrs. Gorman has often visited a member’s residence to provide assistance with forms, referrals to medical professionals, allowances, reassessments and appeals, travel claims, hospital benefits and the process of obtaining medical, service and personal files from the RCMP.
The RCMP Veterans’ Association has now published online the 2018 edition of the Guide for Survivors and Executors, which will be a permanent feature on the Association’s website. Authored by Victor and Janet Gorman, the guide is a valuable reference tool designed to assist and inform members, spouses, executors and attorneys who have to manage the affairs and estates following the death of an RCMP Veteran.
- LeRoy Gamble – Summerside, Prince Edward Island
Mr. Leroy William Gamble is a Veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a lifetime member of the George R. Pearkes V.C. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 5. Having held many positions and served on numerous committees with the Legion, his dedication for his work with the Veteran community resulted in him being named Legionnaire of the Year in 2015.
In his role as Service Officer, he assisted Veterans with pension and disability claims. He continues to meet with Veterans to this day to follow up on reports and even takes time to visit those who reside in care facilities.
He is quite active with schools, talking to students about the significance of Remembrance Day and acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Remembrance Day ceremonies.
He has also conducted research about where soldiers from Prince Edward Island have been laid to rest, and on four separate occasions he travelled to Europe to visit those war graves to place the Prince Edward Island and Canadian flags at their headstones. Mr. Gamble has even spoken about his travels to descendants of the fallen who were appreciative of the journey he had undertaken.
- Maureen Simon – Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
A Veteran and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for the past 24 years, Ms. Maureen Simon has been extremely generous with her time, giving many hours to help the Branch and Veterans alike.
She has chaired many committees and held several positions during her time with the Legion, including the role of Past President for the last two years. Ms. Simon is always finding time to help out fellow Veterans. She helps them in filling out forms to apply for benefits, hands out care baskets, flowers or cards on their birthday, and visits them in the Western Memorial Regional Hospital and other long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences across the city.
She is an active supporter of the annual Poppy Campaign, even helping organize the Cadet Poppy Drive in the area. She attends school assemblies and speaks to student from kindergarten to Grade 12 to teach them about the sacrifices made by Canada’s Veterans and the importance of Remembrance Day.
- Lieutenant-Commander (Retired) Steven St. Amant, C.D., M.A. – Boutliers, Nova Scotia
A 30-year Veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, Mr. Steve St. Amant continues to make significant contributions to the remembrance of missing military personnel from both the First and Second World Wars.
Through his use of records, logic and field research, Mr. St. Amant has successfully identified three servicemen killed in the Great War. Through his findings, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the United Kingdom’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre have been able to identify their graves. He has also ensured that surviving family members are found and perpetuating units are notified, allowing closure and remembrance in honour of their sacrifices. In October 2017, the graves of the three fallen servicemen were re-dedicated with military honours, and Mr. St. Amant traveled to France to attend alongside the families of the fallen.
Mr. St. Amant has also assisted the Dutch city of Sluis and the Canadian contingent at NATO Joint Force Command in Brunssum in returning personal letters found with a fallen soldier from the Second World War to the next of kin.
He is now working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the United Kingdom Archives to identify the missing sailors from HMCS Athabaskan, a sunken ship off the coast of France.
- Lieutenant-Commander (Retired) Todd Brayman, CD. – Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia
Mr. Todd Brayman is a 33-year Logistics Officer Veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy. Mr. Brayman was deployed to the Persian Gulf, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Golan Heights.
Mr. Brayman actively served as the Treasurer of the Greater Hammonds Plains-Lucasville Veterans Memorial Committee for two years, during which time he was instrumental in orchestrating the design, contracting, liaising with stakeholders, fundraising and overseeing the construction of the Memorial Cenotaph. He even conducted the quality control and final inspection of the memorial, ensuring propriety and spelling on every stone. Mr. Brayman organized the cenotaph dedication ceremony and served as the Parade Commander. He oversaw the ceremonial drill components, the positioning of all attendees and the overall ceremony.
Mr. Brayman organized Remembrance Day ceremonies and liaised with local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion, youth, industry and other members of the community to honour the sacrifices made by Canadian Veterans.
In addition to this great project, Mr. Brayman also spearheaded the creation of a national standard template for provincial Veteran license plates, writing to provincial agencies across the country to create this initiative and even offering design options.
- Victor Gorman – Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia
Mr. Victor Gorman is a retired Staff Sergeant of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). He is a member of the Executive of the Nova Scotia Division of the RCMP Veterans’ Association and sits as one of the Directors of the Support and Advocacy Committee. Mr. Gorman was instrumental in the design and development of the Support and Advocacy Program in the Nova Scotia Division and for the RCMP Veterans’ Association nationally.
Mr. Gorman and his wife, Janet, have organized and delivered information workshops on a bi-annual basis in the province for RCMP Veterans, associate members and spouses, serving and retired military personnel, along with serving RCMP members and their spouses.
Mr. Gorman presides over monthly meetings of the Support and Advocacy Committee to improve service delivery to the membership and to explore new avenues and share experiences from challenges presented by various benefit streams. He provided current documents and information to populate the Nova Scotia RCMP Veterans’ Association website with references for the membership, including web links and items of current interest including workshop material from all professional presentations.
The objective of the Support and Advocacy Committee is to provide awareness of the services and assistance available to those in need of a better quality of life. Mr. Gorman has often visited a member’s residence to provide assistance with forms, referrals to medical professionals, allowances, reassessments and appeals, travel claims, hospital benefits and the process of obtaining medical, service and personal files from the RCMP.
The RCMP Veterans’ Association has published online the 2018 edition of the Guide for Survivors and Executors, which will be a permanent feature on the Association’s website. Authored by Victor and Janet Gorman, the guide is a valuable reference tool designed to assist and inform members, spouses, executors and attorneys who have to manage the affairs and estates following the death of an RCMP Veteran.
- Wayne Miller ONL, C.D.– Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. Wayne Miller is a 30-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and Honorary Colonel of 37 Signals Regiment. He also served 13 years with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
One of Mr. Miller’s passions is his commitment to the recognition and remembrance of Canadian and Newfoundland Veterans and service personnel. He is happy to promote, lead or advocate on behalf of Veterans in the province. He always has Canada Remembers pins in his pocket to hand out to anyone willing to promote remembrance. He has helped Veterans receive medals owed to them for their service, recommended community members for the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation and promoted events, such as the Portraits of Honour Tour.
Perhaps the greatest contribution to commemoration is Mr. Miller’s work as the Committee Chair for the construction of the Conception Bay South Monument of Honour. Over eight years, Mr. Miller’s tireless effort and leadership in raising community awareness, generating community support and fundraising led to the establishment of the Conception Bay South Monument of Honour. The monument was officially dedicated on October 4, 2015, and now stands in the center of the community in tribute to those who serve and have served as part of the military, police force, and fire department.
Mr. Miller has been a member of The Royal Canadian Legion for over 35 years and is a member of the Executive. He has participated in the Poppy Campaign, organized Remembrance Day services in schools, churches and service clubs, and designed and coordinated the presentation of a Junior Peacekeepers Certificate Award to youth identified by their teacher at their Remembrance Day school service.
On January 31, 2018, Mr. Miller was invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- William “Bill” Coultas – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. William (Bill) Coultas has spent the better part of 20 years bringing to consciousness the life, memory and relationships of the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of the First World War, through the production of audiovisual material for the visitor centre at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, a National Historic Site of Canada, located in France.
Mr. Coultas co-produced with Bob Wakeham the television documentary called I Remain, Your Loving Son. The documentary his been aired on regional CBC network and on national CBS twice, and it serves not only as a reminder for Newfoundlanders of that tragedy but also a history lesson for Canadians. This documentary has been used effectively in classrooms to teach Canadian history. The students get a true insight into the tragedy and hardships of war and are able to feel compassion and empathy towards the soldiers, their families and their loved ones.
His most recent project, Descendants, The Past is Cast, produced for the local broadcaster NTV highlights the outstanding work of bronze sculptor Morgan MacDonald and our history and connection to the First World War through reflections of the descendants of soldiers. By casting the faces of descendants, this initiative creates an opportunity for current generations to honour the lost and also celebrate the survival of the families affected.
As the great nephew of two men killed at Beaumont-Hamel, his passion for these projects is evident in his generosity of time and talent. His work has increased public knowledge and awareness about the story of the Newfoundland Regiment in the Great War.
Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation from British Columbia
- Mark Adams – North Vancouver, British Columbia
After over 13 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces as an officer of the Cadet Instructor Corps, Mr. Mark Adams continues to be a tireless advocate for Veterans. He works with local businesses to increase awareness of Veterans’ issues and to generate funds for Veterans’ causes.
In 2014, Mr. Adams, along with a friend and business partner, co-founded the Vancouver Military Dinner Society. The goal of this event is to raise awareness of Canadian Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ issues amongst the business community of Vancouver and to raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada.
In April 2018, he worked with Veterans Affairs Canada and a local support organization to ensure that a 97-year-old Second World War Veteran was presented his service medals 72 years after becoming eligible to receive them. The presentation ceremony made national news and was a highlight in the local community.
- Timothy Black – Saanich, British Columbia
Dr. Timothy Black is an Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Victoria who specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), military-to-civilian transition and group counselling approaches. Dr. Black is well-known and trusted internationally within the world of trauma therapy. He is the co-founder of the Veterans Transition Program, which was founded by interviewing Second World War Veterans in the final stages of life. The retelling of their stories provided them with some peace before they passed. Born from this research is the current 10-day program that has been operational since 2010.
Dr. Black is also the co-founder of the Wounded Warriors Canada Couples Overcoming PTSD Every Day (WWC-COPE) Program. His research demonstrated that the relationships within a family suffered greatly at the hands of PTSD, and the COPE Program speaks directly to that issue. The WWC-COPE program consists of a five-day retreat and a six-month follow-up program for military Veteran couples. This program has been delivered nationally, with numerous couples treated.
The research gathered during the program is now presented at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research conferences, which has influenced other federal agencies to support the program. Dr. Black has trained psychologists and counselling clinicians across Canada to work with Veterans and is training the next generation of counsellors to understand issues related to Veterans and their families in transition.
- Norman Briscoe – Vancouver, British Columbia
Veteran Army Trooper of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), Mr. Norman Briscoe has been volunteering his services to the Veteran community in British Columbia for over 28 years.
Since 1990, Mr. Briscoe has served as the Secretary and Chair of various committees and also on the Executive of Unit 26 of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans of Canada. He was also elected President in 2000, 2002 and 2003.
As President, he had to find a solution to the pre-existing financial deficit of Unit 26. He worked closely with the City of Vancouver over a three-year period to sell a piece of land owned by the Unit to generate revenue and improve the financial situation for several years.
In 2003, he worked closely with the Ladies Auxiliary to increase their dwindling numbers by having them host monthly activities and offer support to the programs and events of Unit 26. This increased the interest and support of the Ladies Auxiliary and prevented their disbandment.
Mr. Briscoe was responsible, over a three-year period, for the planning and preparation of a monthly luncheon for about 35 Veterans and seniors. Mr. Briscoe, who is in his late 80s, continues to support the present-day Veterans’ luncheon held by Unit 26 three times a year. He has also been the face of Unit 26 for over 50 years, laying a wreath on behalf of ANAVETS at the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies held in South Vancouver.
- Warren Kerek – Vancouver, British Columbia
Mr. Warren Kerek is a recently retired Captain of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. Over the course of his life, and particularly since leaving the Canadian Armed Forces, Mr. Kerek has been a proud supporter of Veterans.
In 2014, Mr. Kerek became part of the Vancouver Military Dinner Society, along with his friend Scott Martin and a business partner. The goal of this event is to raise awareness of Canadian Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ issues amongst the business community of Vancouver and to raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada. This event attracts the attention of military personnel, civilians, and members of the local business community. The black tie dinner is based on military tradition, during which Mr. Kerek gives a ceremonial toast to the fallen.
Mr. Kerek serves as the army expert on the committee and uses his vast connections and experience to garner support and participation from local militia units.
- Kenneth J. Lieuwen – Langley, British Columbia
Mr. Kenneth J. Lieuwen, a Canadian-born Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, joined the Marine Corps’ 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. While serving with the battalion, he was deployed on numerous domestic operational/training missions within the United States and on overseas operations. Mr. Lieuwen served from 1988 to 1996, reaching the rank of Corporal. Upon the end of his military career, Mr. Lieuwen returned to Canada and pursued his current profession as a full-time firefighter. He has served 21 years with the Surrey Fire Department.
Mr. Lieuwen is one of the founders, and the Vice President Operations for Ronin Safety and Rescue Inc. with his business partner. For over 14 years, Mr. Lieuwen and Ronin have sought out Veterans to join the Ronin team. To date, approximately 40 percent of the company’s staff are Veterans or serving Reservists. Ronin offers transition programs, provided by staff members volunteering their personal time, to train and provide Veterans the skills needed to transition to civilian fire service employment.
Mr. Lieuwen and Ronin have partnered with other companies to offer either free or significantly price-reduced training opportunities to Veterans and Reservists to achieve skill-based certifications. Mr. Lieuwen and Ronin work alongside sponsors and support other pro-Veteran and military-centric activities.
Mr. Lieuwen volunteers his time by helping still-serving Reservists of the Canadian Armed Forces, some of whom served missions in Afghanistan and in peacekeeping operations. He takes the time to help Veterans dealing with mental and physical disabilities by promoting the Veterans Transition Network. As a past graduate of the program, Mr. Lieuwen strongly agrees with its mission to help Veterans transition to meaningful civilian careers, while reintegrating with their families and communities.
- Kathryn J. Linford – Victoria, British Columbia
Ms. Kathryn Linford is the spouse of a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran who served for 33 years and who, after multiple operational deployments, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Ms. Linford has served as a board member for the CFB Borden Military Family Resource Centre, helping organize events to support military families. Upon her husband’s retirement in 2014, they embarked on a cross-country speaking tour to over 60 locations across Canada sharing the story of their chaotic family life and promoting her husband’s book on the subject. She was approached by many spouses in similar situations and was able to share the knowledge she had gained over the years.
Ms. Linford is the co-founder of the Wounded Warriors Canada Couples Overcoming PTSD Every Day (WWC-COPE) Program. She administers the program and has participated as a support spouse in several sessions over the past two years. In addition to this, Ms. Linford speaks to spouses of ill and injured Veterans on a weekly basis.
She is sought out for her strength and honesty. Through her own personal experience, compassion and care for Veterans and their families suffering with PTSD, she helps shape new beginnings for families and has made an immeasurable impact on their lives.
Scott Martin – Vancouver, British Columbia
Mr. Scott Martin is neither a serviceman nor a Veteran. Despite this fact, he has a keen interest in the Canadian Armed Forces and those who have served, and he makes regular and significant contributions to awareness and support of Veterans’ causes.
In 2014, Mr. Martin, along with a friend and a business partner, co-founded the Vancouver Military Dinner Society. The goal of this event is to raise awareness of Canadian Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ issues amongst the business community of Vancouver and to raise money for various Veterans’ charities, including Wounded Warriors Canada.
Using his professional network, he maximizes participation for this event, which ensures increased donations for the cause. Additionally, he leverages his contacts to provide auction items, door prizes and other such benefits to enhance the evening. He stands as the committee’s primary conduit into Vancouver’s non-military citizenry. The great work done by the Society would simply not be possible without Mr. Martin.
- Petty Officer (Retired) John “Jack” McLellan – Victoria, British Columbia
Mr. John McLellan is a Merchant Navy Veteran of the Second World War. He also served in the Royal Canadian Navy and saw conflict during the Korean War.
Mr. McLellan is a member of the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association and fulfills the duties of both the Supply Officer and the Master at Arms. In his role as Supply Officer for the Association, he noticed a lack of identifying Merchant Navy insignia or apparel available for members. He enlisted local businesses to manufacture items such as crests, ties and sport shirts for the membership to purchase. This additional revenue was quite significant and continues to contribute to the Association’s general operations budget.
In his role as the Master at Arms, Mr. McLellan is notably the “face” of the Association at annual conventions in various locations across the country. He also participates in and represents the Association at local and provincial commemorative events.
- Anthony “Tony” Moore – Surrey, British Columbia
Mr. Tony Moore served with the British Army and had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Cyprus.
He has held a number of positions over the past 24 years as a member of several branches of The Royal Canadian Legion in Alberta and British Columbia, such as Parade Marshall, 1st and 2nd Vice-President and President, and Poppy Chairperson for the Peace Arch Zone of The Royal Canadian Legion British Columbia / Yukon Command. In addition, he was instrumental in helping secure the future of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 229 by hosting a variety of fundraising events, such as themed dance nights and free membership Legion dinners.
He takes part in the Guitars for Vets campaign, in collaboration with a local musician and a musical supply company, by getting old guitars refurbished and giving them to Veterans suffering with PTSD.
He is also working with the City of Surrey to put together a project titled Legion Veterans Village. This redevelopment of the Whalley’s Corner area in Surrey will house a PTSD Centre and a Centre for Robotics (electronic prosthetics and exoskeletons). Additionally, an attempt to secure social housing for Veterans and other members of the community in the village is under way.
- Sergeant (Retired) Richard Alan Nicholson – Colwood, British Columbia
Mr. Richard Alan Nicholson is a 25-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, who retired in 1996.
As a long-standing member of The Royal Canadian Legion, he has been involved actively in serving as the Sports Chairman and on the Executive Committee. He has served on the Legion Colour Party and has participated in parades, funerals, celebrations of life and the annual Poppy Campaign.
Two years ago, Mr. Nicholson agreed to the role of Resident Manager at the Cockrell House, assisting homeless Veterans to reintegrate into society. This position is entirely voluntary and required him to move into the facility. He has helped reintegrate over 12 Veterans into society, undoubtedly saving the lives of those Veterans. He has now dedicated his entire life to this project.
- Pfeifer, Mark – Penticton, British Columbia
Mr. Mark Pfeifer is a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, having served with the Primary Reserves as a member of the Seaforth Highlanders. He served from 1991 to 1998, reaching the rank of Master Corporal. While serving with the Seaforth Highlanders, Mr. Pfeifer was deployed on numerous training and domestic operations. At the end of his military career, he pursued his current profession as a full-time firefighter and has served a total of 23 years with the Delta Fire Department. During his time, he has risen through the ranks to become a Lieutenant/Acting Captain and was awarded the Medal of Bravery.
Mr. Pfeifer is the co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer for Ronin Safety and Rescue with his business partner. For over 15 years, Mr. Pfeifer and Ronin have sought out Veterans to join the Ronin team. To date, approximately 40 percent of full-time and part-time staff on the team are Veterans and Reservists. Ronin offers a transition program, provided by staff members volunteering their personal time, to train and provide Veterans the skills needed to transition to civilian fire service employment. Mr. Pfeifer has contributed countless hours to training Canadian Armed Forces Veterans as Ronin staff.
Mr. Pfeifer and Ronin have also partnered with other companies to offer free or significantly price-reduced training opportunities to Veterans and Reservists, to achieve skill-based certifications. Mr. Pfeifer and Ronin work alongside sponsors and support other pro-Veteran and military-centric activities.
Mr. Pfeifer is a former board member and current sitting member of the Treble Victor Group. This group comprises Veterans with leadership training that help other Veterans with leadership training apply those skills to the civilian world. Mr. Pfeifer also participates with pride in Remembrance Day services in his community.
Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation from Quebec:
- BOISVERT, Alain – Shawinigan, Quebec
Mr. Alain Boisvert served in the Canadian Armed Forces for many years and achieved the position of Commanding Officer for the 62nd Field Artillery Regiment.
During his tenure at this regiment as Second in-Command, he was able to secure a local Legion Branch their own space inside a new military barracks that was recently built. He undertook this task because he learned that the Branch had lost the space they had occupied since its inception. He persevered through all obstacles until it was confirmed that the Legion’s new home would be within the new barracks. The Branch now has its own wall to display photos and artifacts, as well as exterior signage so the community knows where they are located. During the 2012 Memorial Cup, Mr. Boisvert was responsible for the cenotaph ceremony, the puck-drops and the parades surrounding the event, putting Branch Veterans and others alike at the forefront of the events. He remains active with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during Veterans’ Week each year, participating in ceremonies at rinks across the area.
His leadership and influence in the military community have boosted the memberships in the local Legion Branch, from a mere 35 members to now 80 members.
Mr. Boisvert also works hard to recognize the members of his Legion Branch by nominating several members for honours like the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Legion of Honour and the Royal Canadian Legion Top Volunteer Award, to name a few.
He always finds reasons to talk about Canada’s Veterans to others, and he makes great efforts to visit Veterans and make them feel loved and honoured.
- Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) BRAIS, O.M.M., C.D., Gilles – Ste-Sophie, Quebec
Mr. Gilles Brais is a distinguished member of the Canadian Armed Forces, having served the majority of his career with the 4th Battalion of the Royal 22e Régiment. After five years of research and documentation, he published a 564-page book on the history of the 4th Battalion of the Royal 22e Régiment.
Lately, he has devoted his life to helping Veterans facing PTSD, mental health issues, and reintegration problems by getting involved with Équi-Sens, a therapeutic rehabilitation program using horses as the intervention tool. Mr. Brais is now the President of the Administrative Council for Équi-Sens, which encompasses soliciting funds from the Royal Canadian Legion and other local Veteran organizations to finance the project. Fundraising was accomplished by organizing golf tournaments during stakeholder reunions and hosting several galas.
A passionate advocate for those suffering from PTSD, he was able to show through university studies that this kind of therapy, which is primarily used for autism, could be adapted for individuals with PTSD. Research has proven the positive effects of equine therapy as a rehabilitation tool for those with mental and physical disabilities. This program was eventually adopted by Veterans Affairs Canada as a rehabilitation tool for Veterans and their families.
- BRAY, William Allan – Pointe-Claire, Quebec
Mr. William (Bill) Bray is a Veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy. He served for three years and retired in 1964. He is a lifetime member of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 245 in Dorval. He has been a member of the Legion for over 40 years and has served on all Executive Committee positions, including several periods as President.
Mr. Bray was a Service Officer for over eight years. His knowledge of Veterans’ law has assisted many Veterans, providing solutions to their problems, as they were unaware of their own legal entitlements. Regardless of the position, he held within the executive committee, his priority was always assisting Veterans. Mr. Bray has organized Legion commemorative events and parades for several years. His skills as an organizer saved the Legion branch from disbanding, which would have been viewed as a great loss to the Veteran community of Dorval.
- Major (Retired) BROUSSEAU, C.D., Paulette – Petite-Vallée, Quebec
Ms. Paulette Brousseau is a 23-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. She generously dedicates her time as a volunteer with Veterans in Petite-Vallée. She is responsible for the annual Poppy Campaign in the area, and she organizes and takes part in local Remembrance Day ceremonies. Since 1998, she has managed the funds collected by the Royal Canadian Legion to help Gaspésie Veterans. Ms. Brousseau prepares and organizes funerals for deceased Veterans in accordance with military protocol.
Ms. Brousseau took notice that the town she called home did not have a cenotaph to honour those who served Canada. Through various community fundraising efforts and with the help of local artisans, she created a mobile granite monument that can be moved from venue to venue for remembrance ceremonies in the community of La Petite-Vallée – Gaspésie. The cenotaph is a steel combat helmet resting atop an overturned rifle, inside a poppy adorned wooden box on which are inscribed the words Jamais plus la guerre, which rests under a scaled replica Sherman tank.
Ms. Brousseau planned and organized a conference to honour the memory of the actions of Canadians in the Régiment de la Chaudière on D-Day. She created and built a miniature battle scene of Juno Beach for the occasion to help spectators at the conference better understand the scope of the operation.
She also gives a number of lectures on Remembrance Day to people in the area and to elementary and high school students.
- CANTIN, C.D., Robert, C.D. – Québec City, Quebec
Mr. Robert Cantin served as a cadet and with the Naval Reserve in the 1960s, as well as a civilian instructor for the Champlain Naval Cadet Corps in Québec. For the past 40 years, he has dedicated his life to genealogical research on Canadians who have given their lives in service since 1867.
He has published a collection of his efforts entitled, SACRIFICE. His collection is composed of 15 volumes of over 600 pages that include the names and details on the lives of the fallen. His work has been on display at the Royal Canadian Navy Headquarters in Ottawa and Esquimalt, as well as the Naval Museums of Québec and Halifax. Mr. Cantin has been recognized with the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2013, and the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers in 2016, for his work as a researcher, his community outreach to ensure Veterans’ well-being and his contributions on Canadian heritage.
- CARON, Gaëtan – St-Bruno-de Montarville, Quebec
Mr. Gaëtan Caron is a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, having served his country overseas on several missions as Military Police and rising to the rank of Master Warrant Officer. After his release from the Regular Force, he joined the Reserves and was hired as a support coordinator for Operational Stress Injuries in order for him to keep in touch with the military and Veteran community.
Mr. Caron puts forward many hours in support of his brothers and sisters in arms, as part of his work and during his personal time. He shares his knowledge and listens to those who need someone to talk to. He once helped a fellow Veteran finish his backyard patio due to physical limitations. He takes his motorcycle out to meet with Veterans who are need of a morale boost, and has he has spent his own money to help those who need a little extra food to fill up their grocery cart. Mr. Caron, who has served as the Beloeil President, has taken the Branch from the brink of financial collapse to one that hosts ceremonies and events year round and hosts the local military units in Montréal Garrison during Remembrance Day. He was able to bring financial stability to the Branch by renovating the hall and leasing it for public use, holding flea market sales, organizing sports tournaments, having meal services, and even bringing an Internet connection to the locale, which drew in more members during the week. All of these efforts led to the resurgence of the Beloeil Branch within the community.
- Claude Cusson, CD – Québec City, Quebec
Mr. Claude Cusson is a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. In 1978, he enrolled as a gunner and became a procurement technician in 1986. He continued his career at 1RCHA in Germany from 1979 to 1985 and as a supply tech at the medical depot from 1990 à 1994 also in Germany, After a 19-year career with 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada, he retired in January 1997.
Mr. Cusson has done more than his share to come to the aid of his brothers-in-arms. He has worked as a volunteer in several capacities with Veterans’ organizations, including a period as Québec City Regional President of Veterans UN-NATO Canada. This is a very active region in which over 300 members have received Mr. Cusson’s help at one time or another. He also served as the group’s Quebec Provincial President for a little over two years.
He has contributed enormously to the growth of the organization. Since its beginning, he has volunteered to help set up Veterans’ groups in a number areas of the North Shore up to Abitibi, thus working to relieve the isolation of Veterans in these remote locations. He is still serving today in the national quartermaster position, created when the group was formed.
For the past five years, Mr. Cusson has organized the group’s national Christmas gathering, an event that draws over 200 members each year. During the holiday period, Mr. Cusson use to be an Operation Red Nose volunteer, something he has done from 2000 to 2009. He has also been Vice- President of the Québec City chapter of the Association of Military Motorcyclists of Canada for 7years.
Mr. Cusson is a generous man who has made a significant contribution over many years to his fellow Veterans, helping to ease their return to civilian life.
- Captain (Retired) DUCLOS, Jean Claude – Montréal, Quebec
Mr. Jean-Claude Duclos is a retired Captain of the Royal Canadian Air Force, an accomplished professor and a trained archeologist. He has been involved in several high-profile organizations and has also worked with radio stations in the Montréal area to support the retirement community. He is one of the founding members of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association 338 Squadron (Rive-Sud), has been Commanding Officer of 622 Frontenac Cadet Corps, and serves as the Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 215 in Brossard, Quebec.
As part of the Legion, he occupies the position of Support Officer on top of his duties as Vice-President. His role is to offer support to Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disease, along with any other Veteran in need of help.
He is also a member of a self-help group for Veterans, which meets weekly to reminisce as well as to discuss any personal issues they may be facing.
- Lieutenant-Colonel (Honorary) DESJARDINS-SICILIANO, Yves – Montréal, Quebec
Mr. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is a first generation Canadian, joined Via Rail Canada in 2010, and was theChief Executive Officer from May 2014 to May2019. He is a proud supporter of Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. One of his first initiatives as Chief Executive Officer to help Canadian troops, Veterans and their families was to institute a 25% rebate on all travel across VIA Rail Canada’s network. Since 2010, over 250,000 trips have been made by members of the military and Veteran community.
Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano’s biggest commitment, however, is advancing employment opportunities for Veterans and reservists. This initiative has impacted the quality of life of Veterans, providing them with greater employment opportunities resulting in a better transition to civilian life. With a starting point of only six military personnel and Veterans as part of VIA Rail’s workforce in 2014, he set out to recruit 7% of all new employees from Veteran and reservist communities. He educated his own civilian staff on the importance and benefits of recruiting Veterans and directed that better employee benefits and leave packages be provided to reservists. As a result of his hard work, leadership and dedication, the number of employees from the military and Veteran community has grown tenfold, reaching 70 employees in less than three years.
Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano has also instituted a partnership program to help Veteran organizations that require transport services. To date, VIA has partnered with over 40 organizations, such as Wounded Warriors Canada, Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur and the Canadian Institute of Military and Veterans Health Research, that have benefited from VIA transport to help Veterans to attend a multitude of services whether for health, professional training, support or commemorative services.
He also partnered with the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, providing transportation for the Canadian athletes, games staff and their families. During the same time period, he personally presided the Montréal 375th Anniversary Military Ball, which raised more than $200,000 for the Montréal Region Military Family Resource Centre.
Since 2014 Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano has also partnered with the Royal Canadian Legion by including his committed staff in distributing 30,000 poppies on board trains during Veterans’ Week, helping raise much needed funds for the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign.