This November, Canada is recognizing 100 years of armistice, and a new veterans association is taking the lead to honour the historic event.
A few ex-military members met up over the summer and formed the Northwest Coast Veterans Association. Since then, they’ve come up with the vision and drive to support other veterans in the community and to host a black tie event on Nov. 3 at the Highliner Plaza.
“It makes me very proud and happy to see something that was just thought of under six months ago … and seeing it progress in under a year is actually amazing,” said Mark Taylor, who served two tours in Afghanistan and is a member of the Canadian Rangers.
Their motto is — Veterans Still Serving Veterans, and that is exactly what this new association is looking to do.
One member, Bill Proteau, said he’s at the age where he can start giving back. His father served in World War II, he served as an engineering officer in the Canadian Army, and his son served. Moving to Prince Rupert nine years ago he learned of the major military presence on the North Coast during the war, but he didn’t see that reflected in the community.
“Once I recognized that, [I thought] there should be more celebration on the members who served here because this was such an active area. It just seems to be slipping away. We all served and have to try to maintain the honour and remembrance of people who served. Try to remember the people we lost,” Proteau said.
When members of the new veterans association came together they didn’t know of any other group honouring the 100th anniversary of armistice, the end of the first World War. They decided to create their own event to put themselves out there in the community.
“This organization wasn’t put together due to deficiencies in other organizations. It wasn’t because they aren’t doing good things, it’s just literally a bunch of guys and girls sitting around saying this is going on and this isn’t going on, and I know this person who needs help,” Proteau said, noting that people have asked why the legion isn’t putting the event on.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 27, in Prince Rupert is doing its annual poppy campaign with the scouts and cadets, but nothing else is planned for Armistice Day.
The aim of this particular event is to raise money for a service dog.
“We’re going to look for a veteran in the community, either injured or suffering from PTSD, and we’re going to start looking for donations to get a service dog. They’re about $25,000,” Taylor said.
“To think of what can be achieved in a year if we keep this momentum going. We have so much momentum going right now we need to keep it going.”
The Northwest Coast Veterans Association is starting with the 100th Anniversary Armistice Ball, a formal event with a five course dinner, music and dance to follow for $85 per person.
Tickets are available at Cook’s Jewellers, Omni Eye and www.nwcva.ca