EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2010) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), was joined today by Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Mark Cohon and members of the Gaudaur family to announce the first recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award.
"The Government of Canada is proud to work in collaboration with the Canadian Football League, to engage sports fans, youth and all Canadians in remembering the heroic and selfless acts of Canada's Veterans," said Minister Blackburn. "We are pleased to present this award to Mike McCullough of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Throughout the season, he has demonstrated the attributes Canada's Veterans are known for—strength, perseverance, comradeship, courage and contribution to community."
Mike McCullough was chosen as the first recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award because he is seen as a leader on and off the field. His teammates look to him for guidance and his selflessness is continually demonstrated by his dedication to his community and his personal commitment to Jesse's Journey – Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
"On the field, with his teammates, working in the community, and through the grace and strength with which he has faced personal tragedy, Mike has proven himself worthy of being honoured in the company of true Canadian heroes, our Veterans," said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
Today's presentation was held at the CapitalCare Kipnes Centre for Veterans, with many resident Veterans in attendance. For those who were unable to attend, the ceremony was simulcast on screens in their living areas throughout the centre. The Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Trophy and Grey Cup remained after the presentation ceremony to give residents and families a photo opportunity. CFL players and alumni then toured the facility to visit with resident Veterans.
"It lifted the spirits of our frail and elderly Veterans to be remembered and honoured for the sacrifices they made to secure freedom for all Canadians," said Betty Kolewaski, Administrator CapitalCare Kipnes Centre for Veterans.
The Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award is part of the Canadian Football League 2010 Veterans' Tribute which is supported by Veterans Affairs Canada through the Community Engagement Partnership Fund. The Tribute includes national broadcasts and in-stadium activities commemorating the achievements and sacrifices of Canadian Veterans during times of war, military conflict and peace.
The Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Trophy will be awarded annually to a CFL player who demonstrates the attributes shared by Canada's Veterans.