For the ninth year, Take a Veteran to Dinner will give civilians a chance to thank those that served Canada, hear their stories and create lifelong bonds.
“We’re encouraging people who haven’t served, civilians, to say thanks to active and retired members of the forces.
“It’s really just recognizing the commitment people have made to the country,” said Tobin Kelly, Chair of the Organizing Committee and founder.
On Oct. 23, veterans and regular citizens will gather under one roof to exchange stories and experiences. Civilians are encouraged to bring a veteran and pay for their ticket or just sign up and be paired with a veteran, typically a complete stranger.
“After the evening is done they’re not strangers anymore. In my mind this is the really special part of doing this, to see those friendships happen and carry on year after year,” observed Kelly.
The dinner will start off with a cocktail hour, and a live band will play throughout the evening. A special guest speaker is also expected to be at the event. The dinner is served in a casual mess-dinner style for a taste of life in the military.
Last year’s event was a great success with more than 200 people attending. The Military Wives Choir performed and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member Capt. Catherine Cabot delivered the keynote address.
“The size is certainly growing, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not an intimate, warm feel in the room,” noted Kelly.
The concept originated from Kelly’s hometown of Orillia, Ontario where they host a similar event.
“The most common question I get at the end of every evening is when are we dong this again next year. It really just comes back to this really is a small gesture. Sure there is the money to buy the veterans’ ticket but really in the grand scheme I think that’s really a small price when you think about the experiences our active and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces have,” said Kelly.
Take a Veteran to Dinner will be held on Sunday Oct. 23 from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. at the Tudor Hall in Ottawa, ON. Tickets are $75 each. To purchase tickets click here