By Tracey Arial
Royal Canadian Legion volunteer Vera Sherlock and teacher-historian Sébastien Vincent were among 19 Quebecers to receive Veteran’s Affairs commendations in 2014.
“It is a privilege to recognize the selfless efforts of these dedicated individuals who have generously given of their time and energy to support and care for our Veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, during a special awards ceremony at the Chateau Vaudreuil on Thursday, Sept. 4. “Their exemplary contributions are indicative of the enormous respect and gratitude shared by all Canadians for the men and women who have served in uniform.”
Both LaSalle residents are unusual recipients because they aren’t themselves veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada says that the “Commendation is intended primarily for veterans, but may be awarded to non-veterans in recognition of their service to the veterans community.”
No one is as deserving as Vera Sherlock, says Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13 volunteer Kathy McLeod. McLeod says that until Sherlock became very ill last March, she visited veterans in Ste. Anne’s Hospital every month without fail.
“She’s been in the Ladies’ Auxiliary for 55 years and has served on every position, second vice-president, first vice-president and president,” said McLeod. “She visits the veterans at Ste. Anne’s Hospital and she brings all sorts of goodies—if someone is diabetic, she gets diabetic treats for them. Some like fruit, some like other things—she’s got a little present for each one. She’s such a beautiful person.”
In addition to organizing veteran visits throughout the year, Sherlock has spent the last 40 Christmases visiting veterans in the hospital with Santa in tow. She’s also been the key organizer for 37 annual lunches at the LaSalle Legion in April. Despite organizing so many activities herself, she also readily volunteers to help others set up bazaars, dances and other special occasions, all for the benefit of the Veteran community.
For his part, Sébastien Vincent writes and edits works that attract attention to French-Canadian veterans who served in various wars. Among his books are Laissés dans l’ombre (Left in the Shadows), which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 2005 and Ils ont écrit la guerre (The War they Wrote).
He says that his passion for World War II history began in 1990 after he met French Resistance fighter Odile Origny, who spent four years in Ravensbrück.
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