Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

June 20, 2005 12:31 ET

Media Advisory: Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation Presentations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 20, 2005) - Media are invited to attend a special ceremony with the Honourable Albina Guarnieri,
Minister of Veterans Affairs, on Tuesday, June 21, 2005, at which time she will present the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation to 13 outstanding Canadians in recognition of their dedication to Veterans.

The Commendation will be presented to:

Christian Couture - St. Gedeon, Quebec
Laurence Motiuk - Ottawa, Ontario
Russell Dillabough - Deep River, Ontario
Laurent E. Rivard - Boucherville, Quebec
Larry Gray - Carleton Place, Ontario
Edward Rogers - Katevale, Quebec
Laurence Harrison - Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Wallace Smith - Peterborough, Ontario
William Steel - Shellbrook, Saskatchewan
Ken Henderson - Montreal, Quebec
Gordon Strathy - Petawawa, Ontario
William (Bill) Judge - Peterborough, Ontario
Lloyd Swick - Ottawa, Ontario

The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation recognizes individuals
who have made an outstanding contribution to the care and well-being
of veterans or who have been instrumental in raising awareness of
veterans' contributions, sacrifices and achievements.

Event: Presentation of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Date: June 21, 2005
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: The Lord Elgin Hotel, The Ontario Room: 100 Elgin
Street, Ottawa

Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation
June 21, 2005

Christian Couture
St. Gedeon, Quebec

A Veteran of the Canadian Forces (CF) with more than 30 years active service, Lt.-Gen. Couture was instrumental in fostering a closer working relationship between the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), eliminating duplication of services in order to provide better and efficient services to retired as well as still serving Veterans. Lt.-Gen. Couture co-chaired the VAC/DND Steering Committee, ensuring ongoing communications and providing joint services to CF Veterans and their dependants. Lt.-Gen. Couture assisted in the creation of the DND/VAC Centre for the Support of Injured and Retired Members and their Families, which opened in 1999. He also oversaw the creation of the Operational Stress Injuries Social Support program to ensure that CF Veterans receive care immediately.

Russell Dillabough
Deep River, Ontario

A Veteran of the Second World War and member of The Royal Canadian Legion for more than 55 years, Mr. Dillabough served 22 years as Service Officer for the General Paul Manson Branch No. 436 and also served six years as Zone G7 Service Officer. In 1991, Mr. Dillabough assisted with the renovation and relocation project of the town's cenotaph, and helped with the designing of its garden floral arrangement in a "V" shape. In 1997, Mr. Dillabough chaired a committee responsible for the erection and dedication of the Cenotaph's Roll of Honour - which was dedicated as a tribute to First World War, Second World War and Korea War Veterans of Bromley Township. Mr. Dillabough has volunteered for Meals on Wheels and has served on the board of North Renfrew Long-Term Care Centre. Mr. Dillabough has served for a period of 10 years as Deep River's Councillor, Deputy Reeve and Reeve, and is known for his devotion to community service. Mr. Dillabough is the recipient of several awards, including The Royal Canadian Legion Life Membership, community certificates of appreciation and merit, and the Canada 125 Anniversary Medal.

Larry Gray
Carleton Place, Ontario

A Veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force and member of Dominion Command of The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) since 1983, Mr. Gray was promoted from Service Officer to Director of the Bureau in 1988. In 1986, Mr. Gray planned and organized the first RCL youth pilgrimage to battlefields and war cemeteries in Europe. He also represented the RCL in the negotiations of benefits for Merchant Navy Veterans (MNV), and was actively involved in the planning committee for the MNV Book of Remembrance. As a member of the Executive Committee, Mr. Gray established a volunteer guide program at the Canadian War Museum. In 1994, he was named to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB). In 1999, he authored the book "We Are The Dead", which includes biographical details of more than 50 Carleton Place Veterans who lost their lives in the Second World War. He has just completed a second book entitled "Fathers, Brothers and Sons", which contains the histories of 46 more Veterans who never came home from the Second World War. Mr. Gray has assumed the role of National Service Officer and 2nd Vice President of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association. Mr. Gray is also an active member of the Veterans Affairs' Veterans' Week Working Group representing peacekeepers, and is involved with the establishment of the Hall of Valour in the Town of Carleton Place. In recognition of his devotion to Veterans, Mr. Gray was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Laurence Harrison
Maple Ridge, British Columbia

A Second World War Veteran, Mr. Harrison has been a dedicated member of The Royal Canadian Legion rising to the position of Executive Director of Pacific Command. He served in this position for 38 years until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Harrison has served on the Board of Directors of the Shaughnessy Hospital Foundation, helping to raise funds for numerous improvements to the facility. He also served as a Director on the Board of Trustees of the George Derby Centre Care Society from 1992-2002. Mr. Harrison has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Last Post Fund, British Columbia Branch, since 1991, has served as President and Vice-President of the Branch as well as a member of the National Governing Council. Mr. Harrison's dedication and support to Veterans and their causes make him an exemplary humanitarian and a pillar in his community. He continues to work on behalf of Veterans.

Ken Henderson
Montreal, Quebec

A retired Veteran of the Canadian Forces, Mr. Henderson joined Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS), Montreal East Unit No. 308 in 1969. In 1990, he was elected President of his unit where he served a term of four years. He then served four years as Provincial President of the Quebec branch, and six more years as a Dominion Vice-President. In September 2004, Mr. Henderson was elected Dominion President at the 47th Biennial Dominion Convention in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henderson is currently a member of the Health and Welfare Committee at Ste. Anne's Hospital. He is also a member of the Consultative Committee of Veterans' Association (Quebec Region) for Veterans Affairs Canada and represents ANAVETS on the Gerontological Advisory Committee. Mr. Henderson devotes much time to the Youth involvement in community projects initiative. He is a recipient of the ANAVETS Order for Service; and holds a Life Membership in the association. Mr. Henderson is also the recipient of an American Legion Friendship Award as well as the 2002 Queen's Jubilee Medal.

William (Bill) Judge
Peterborough, Ontario

A Veteran of the Second World War and member of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association (RCAF) for more than 30 years, Mr. Judge has been active on the association's numerous committees, serving as Chair on the Air Show Committee as well as the Wing's President for two terms. In 2002, he was recognized by the Association as its Ontario Member of the Year. Mr. Judge is co_chair of the annual Battle of Britain Parade and Ceremony, and is currently working on a RCAF memorial display in the recently renovated Peterborough Memorial Centre. He was instrumental in creating and planning the 50th Anniversary of Air Force Week in Peterborough, during which more than 30 public events were held. In addition, Mr. Judge has dedicated himself to educating youth on Canada's military contribution to the Second World War, by speaking to students and showing them his collection of Air Force artifacts. Mr. Judge is a dedicated fund-raiser for the local Air Cadet Squadron, and has often served as its inspecting officer. He is the Wing's contact person and local administrator for the RCAF Benevolent Fund, and for many years, has assisted the families of Peterborough area air force Veterans with their pension and healthcare matters. Mr. Judge has had a significant impact in the remembrance of the contributions of the sacrifices made by RCAF Veterans in his community, and in recognition of his dedication to youth and Veterans, was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Laurence Motiuk
Ottawa, Ontario

A Veteran of the Second World War and of the Korean War, Mr. Motiuk has dedicated much of his post_war life to ensuring that the sacrifices and achievements of Veterans are never forgotten. Mr. Motiuk authored the book "Thunderbirds at War: Diary of a Bomber Squadron," which has been acclaimed as a model in Air Force literature. His recent book "Thunderbirds for Peace: Diary of a Transport Squadron," covers the history of 426 Squadron and its global peacekeeping and other missions between 1945 and 1962. Through his writing, Mr. Motiuk has reached out to the families and children of Veterans, generating in them a growing sense of pride and interest in their Canadian military history. As President of 426 Squadron Association from 1994 to 2004, Mr. Motiuk was a driving force behind the recovery of a Squadron Halifax bomber and crew in Belgium. Each year, the association presents the Canadian Forces' active squadron with a painting of an aircraft flown by the unit providing a heritage link to the past for a younger generation of servicemen and servicewomen.

Laurent E. Rivard
Boucherville, Quebec

An airport firefighter during the Second World War and a Veteran of the Normandy Campaign, Mr. Rivard joined The Royal Canadian Legion in 1949, and was three-time President of Branch No. 67. From 1952 to 1970, Mr. Rivard volunteered twice a week, to take care of Veterans at the Reine Marie Hospital, and for more than 15 years, he collected and distributed Christmas presents to Veterans. As Municipal Counsellor for the Town of Boucherville, Mr. Rivard was instrumental in having a cenotaph erected in tribute to Canadian Veterans. To this day, the cenotaph continues to be the site of memorials and Annual Remembrance Ceremonies. Mr. Rivard helped to create a Royal Canadian Legion Chapter Branch 266 Pierre-Boucher of which he became the first president. As Vice-Commander of District No. 10, Mr. Rivard has received a certificate of Merit in recognition of his outstanding devotion to Veterans.

Edward Rogers
Katevale, Quebec

A Veteran of the Second World War, Mr. Rogers served as Service Officer for his local Branch of The Royal Canadian Legion, and for the past 14 years, has tirelessly assisted Veterans and their families with their applications for pensions and benefits. He was awarded Royal Canadian Legionnaire of the Year of the Quebec Command in 2000. Mr. Rogers was a member of the Juno Beach Team (Quebec Region) and devoted countless hours assisting with the fund-raising at the local Wal-Mart store. As a result of his unwavering support and hard work, Mr. Rogers was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Juno Beach Centre Board of Directors. In 1996, he received a citation of thanks from The Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Priory of Canada for his assistance to the service of the Order. For many years, Mr. Rogers dedicated his time to speaking to school children and students about the meaning of remembrance and the sacrifice of Canadian Veterans. Mr. Rogers was recognized for his role as spokesperson during Veterans' Week in his region, and in 1996, received a certificate from the Governor General for his extensive contribution to the success of the 1995 Canada Remembers 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War celebrations, both at home and abroad. Mr. Rogers has published numerous articles regarding Veterans' programs and services which have been published in several publications, local media, including the Sherbrooke Record.

Wallace Smith
Peterborough, Ontario

A Second World War Veteran, for the past 40 years, Mr. Smith has served at all levels of The Royal Canadian Legion and, as Service Officer, is currently working with local Veterans Affairs Canada counsellors on behalf of Veterans and their dependents. He has chaired and served numerous committees including the Ritual and Awards Committee; the Cenotaph Renovation Committee, the Cenotaph Maintenance Committee, the Memorial Centre Board and the Memory Project. As Chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee, Mr. Smith was the member responsible for the Poppy Campaign, the Annual Remembrance Ceremony and represented his association at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony in 2000. Mr. Smith continues to visit schools to speak to students about Veterans, their sacrifice and contributions. He has played a key role in re_installing Memorabilia at the Peterborough Memorial Centre and he continues to organize local D_Day activities.

William Steel
Shellbrook, Saskatchewan

A former Veteran of the Canadian Forces (CF), Mr. Steel has been a strong advocate on behalf of the Veterans in his community. A dedicated Service Officer of The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) Shellbrook Branch, he has assisted Veterans and their spouses in obtaining benefit entitlements, and on their behalf, liaises with the local Veterans Affairs Canada area counsellor. Mr. Steel gives presentations to school children during Veterans' Week, during which he speaks about the importance of remembrance. He was involved in the creation of the Korean War Memorial in 1999, and is working to have the area around the cenotaph dedicated as "Veterans Memorial Park". Mr. Steel also initiated the installation of a columbarium at the Shellbrook cemetery and, as a result, a 100 foot long beam was constructed upon which individual burial plaques will be mounted. A bronze plaque mounted by the Shellbrook Legion Branch adorns its south end. From within his RCL Branch, Mr. Steel also made the arrangements to sponsor two pipers to play at the Juno Beach Ceremony, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Normandy.

Gordon Strathy
Petawawa, Ontario

Mr. Strathy is a Veteran of the Canadian Forces as well as of the Korean War. He has been an active member of The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) for more than 35 years and a member of the Korea Veterans Association for the past 20 years. Mr. Strathy has held most positions in the RCL, including two terms as President of his local Branch. His activities in the RCL encompass 34 years in educating youth, chairing a committee to build a Legion seniors' residence, and a founding member and first President of the Petawawa Legion Community Band of which he was the first president. For the past 18 years, Mr. Strathy has been a member of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada, serving as its National President and is currently its National Secretary. In this role, he devotes numerous hours assisting Veterans with their applications for benefits and medals. Mr. Strathy maintains flower beds at community cenotaphs and founded the Celebration of Peace Memorial in Petawawa. Mr. Strathy donates his own produce to seniors and Veterans. He is also a member of the Veterans Affairs Canada Veterans' Week Committee and, in 2002, in recognition of his work on behalf of Veterans, was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal.

Lloyd Swick
Ottawa, Ontario

A Veteran of the Second World War whose military and public service career spans more than 48 years, Mr. Swick was cited for his contributions to the community as a volunteer entertainer and was recognized for his involvement with Veterans and seniors in many care facilities including the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre. Mr. Swick managed the donation and refurbishing of pianos to nursing homes and community centres throughout the city. As a volunteer with the Palliative Care Unit at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, he brought comfort to many Veterans and their families in their hour of need. He assists Veterans with their correspondence and helps them obtain benefits to which they are entitled, and when asked, he is pleased to appear and support them during board hearings. Mr. Swick has devoted many years to speaking to children in schools about the significance of Remembrance Day and the sacrifice and contributions of Canada's Veterans at home and around the world. He has spoken to military cadets on the qualities of leadership, and the horrific consequences of war. A loyal volunteer, Mr. Swick has improved the lives of nursing home residents through the joy and power of music and as such is an exemplary humanitarian and a pillar in his community.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    (613) 992-7468
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Corey Hobbs
    Director of Communications
    (613) 947-4908