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Local veterans receive Quilts of Valour – Hugs from a Grateful Nation

TISH MacDONALD Special to The Standard

UXBRIDGE: Quilts of Valour Ontario representative, Naomi Babineau, and presenter, Mike Babineau, were in Uxbridge to make special presentations to local veterans on Friday, November 14th, 2023.

The mission of Quilts of Valour, formed in 2006 and a registered national charity since 2009, is to ensure that all Canadian military members, past and present, who are ill or injured because of their service and sacrifice to our country, are recognized and honoured with a Quilt of Valour. To date, over 21,000 quilts have been presented to veterans across the country.

Second World War Navy (RCNVR) veteran Norm Goodspeed; Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and UN Peacekeeping Veteran Al Bainbridge and CAF Veteran Vince Campbell, received Quilts of Valour at the Uxbridge Legion, Branch 170, during their monthly Veterans Afternoon.

Second World War veteran Norman Goodspeed, just shy of 97 years of age, was only 17 when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. As with many young men at the time, Norman lied about his age to serve his country. He trained aboard HMCS Hunter and later served most of his career in the Supply Division on the HMCS Saguenay as a cook.

Former USS student, Al Bainbridge joined the Royal Canadian Signals Corps in 1959 as a Radio Repair Technician. He deployed as a UN Peacekeeper on three occasions, serving in the Belgian Congo in 1962, Cyprus in 1970, and Cyprus again in 1976. Alan was also posted to support NATO Operations in Germany for 3 years and last served in Petawawa with the Special Forces Unit from 1978 to 1981.

Vince Cambell served in the Canadian Armed Forces with the 1st Nova Scotia Highlanders as a Master Corporal in the Infantry Trade. He thankfully served during peacetime, mostly at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, and in Germany as a Peacekeeper.

Currently residing in Retirement Residences, veterans Heidi Cushing, John Rowarth and Lois Torrance received their Quilts of Valour in special individual presentations.

Second World War veteran Heidi Cushing, now 99 years of age, joined the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service in Toronto in 1942. She completed her naval training in Galt, Ontario, and her training as Vehicle Transport Driver in Preston Springs. Her postings included Preston Springs, Vancouver, Victoria, and Washington D.C.

John Rowarth, now 99, enlisted with the Navy in 1942 for service in the Second World War when he was 18 years old. During wartime, his roles were varied and included serving aboard destroyers on Atlantic convoys; installing and maintaining radio, radar and navigation equipment and setting up sea to shore communication links following the allied landing in Italy.

Lois Torrance, now 102 years of age, enlisted in 1941 as one of roughly 50,000 women in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) whose invaluable service aided the allied victory.

At a truly fitting location, the Uxbridge Cenotaph, Quilts of Valour representatives Mike and Naomi Babineau also presented quilts to Durham Region veterans, David Munroe, Kevin Kalk, and Patricia (P.J.) VanAuken.

Retiring after a remarkable 38-year military career, CWO David Munroe MMM, CD, served with the Ontario Regiment, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), Queen’s Own Rifles, Queen’s York Rangers (1st American), Queen’s York Rangers, and Governor General’s Horse Guard. Munroe served overseas in Cyprus, Cambodia, and Bosnia.

CWO Kevin Kalk enlisted in the Governor Generals Horse Guard (GGHG) in 1987 and is currently still serving. Over the course of a 36-year military career, Kevin has risen to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.

Major Patricia “P.J.” VanAuken enlisted in 1991 with the Governor General’s Horse Guards at Denison Armouries in Toronto. She, over the course of 32 years of service rose to the rank of Major and is the Squadron Commander of the Guards. She remains in service today.

Throughout the day, each quilt was delivered with heartfelt compassion, sincerity, and thanks. As the quilts were draped around the shoulders of the veterans, we reflected on the inscription “Handmade with love, respect, and gratitude for your sacrifice to Canada. May the hugs stitched into this quilt give you comfort, strength and love.”

We Will Remember Them

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