Veterans raise money to help homeless

Former Veterans Ombudsman and Canadian Army veteran Col. (ret’d) Pat Stogran is hosting a fundraising event entitled “Veterans Showcase” on May 18 to raise funds for a cause dear to his heart: the APPLE drop-in centre.

A Post Psychiatric Leisure Experience (A.P.P.L.E.) drop-in centre, provides leisure activities for those individuals residing in the Ottawa area who are either living on the street or are managing mental health issues. The centre arranges a variety of activities, from BBQs to dances to sporting events, to create a safe and warm environment for those with emotional or psychiatric challenges.

Stogran first became involved with A.P.P.L.E. after meeting running into a former colleague and a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Bill Ayotte in 2002. In his retirement, Cpl. Ayotte had dedicated his time and heart to the A.P.P.L.E centre.

“To me, that’s leadership. That’s what real leaders do. The selfless acts for the rest of the community.

“He, to me, is kind of the embodiment of veterans giving back to the community,” stated Stogran.

Veteran Showcase is not only a commemoration of what Ayotte did for the A.P.P.L.E centre, but a showcase of how veterans continue to give back to their communities.

“I call it showcase because I’m kind of grandstanding the fact, with pride, that there’s a lot of veterans who continue to serve long after they take off the uniform,” noted Stogran.

Because of his experience as a veterans ombudsman, Stogran feels a strong connection with the veteran community.

“I felt that the majority of veterans are not the casualties that you hear about in the news and, in fact, a lot the veterans continue to give back to the community in many selfless ways,” said the former veterans ombudsman.

The fundraising event will feature several veterans who have now entered the entertainment industry. The event will be emceed by Eric Payne, a former Royal Canadian Navy member turned comedian. Performers include Army veteran Mike Griffin, frontman for the cover band Sterling and Maj. (ret’d) Tim Isberg, a singer-songwriter.

Proceeds from Veterans Showcase will go to the A.P.P.L.E drop-in centre.

“These veterans are top-caliber performers. So come out and have fun, that the big thing, and recognize that all of the money goes to a most worthy cause,” said Stogran.

Veterans Showcase will be held on May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa.

Tickets are available at EventBrite.

A GoFundMe page has also been setup for those who cannot attend but would like to donate. Those who donate will also receive an all access DVD of the event as a keepsake.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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