On this past Thanksgiving Day, Last Post Fund member Barry Keeler and his young grandson Jake, who has an avid interest in WWI and WWII history, had the pleasure of visiting Herb Peppard at the Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Building in Halifax, NS. Herb, a youthful 97 year old Nova Scotian (Truro) is a distinguished WWII Veteran who served with the elite United States/Canadian First Special Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade.
On February 3rd, 2015 Herb was on Capitol Hill in Washington, with 12 Canadian and 28 American First Special Service Force brothers to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour the US Congress can bestow. In 1944 he was awarded one of America's highest military honors, the Silver Star, for "gallantry in action."
Barry noted it was a great honour spending time on Thanksgiving afternoon visiting this highly-accomplished WWII Veteran and Jake now intends to write up his biography as a Veterans Week project at school.
We are proud to announce that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, CC CMM, COM, CQ, CD Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada has graciously accepted our request to become patron of the Last Post Fund. Before becoming Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette was an astronaut, engineer, scientific broadcaster and corporate director. She has received many distinctions and 28 honorary doctorates. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec.
Tara Muia, of the Last Post Fund and Emile Gallant, of Veterans Affairs Canada, attended the Annual Association of Cemetery and Funeral Professionals (OACFP) Conference & Tradeshow in Hamilton, Ontario on October 2-3, 2018. The OACFP is a non-profit association founded in 1913, initially created to allow Ontario cemetery and funeral professionals to exchange ideas and information in order to maintain professional standards and high levels of customer service. OACFP has an extensive membership base representing all sectors of the bereavement industry, government and death care industry associations across the province. This conference provided an opportunity for Tara and Emile to exchange ideas, build relationships and raise awareness of the Last Post Fund’s mission, as well as promote the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program .
Representatives from the Last Post Fund National Office and the National Field of Honour had the pleasure of participating in the first gathering of Veterans Services-Quebec Veterans Foundation, held at the St. Hubert Airport, on September 29th, 2018. Last Post Fund team members met a large number of Veterans and their loved ones. They established numerous contacts with kindred organizations that, like us, provide support to the Veterans’ community. Two organizations that were in attendance; Old Brewery Mission and Groupe JP Robin, both provide services to homeless Veterans, which we hope to collaborate with in the future.
Pointe Claire, September 17, 2018. Mr. Andrzej Dera, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland (seen in the middle of the photo) and Mr. Andrzej Kurnicki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Canada visit the NFOH with members of their Montreal consulate and local Polish war veterans to lay a wreath in remembrance of the 400 Polish soldiers buried in the cemetery. The visitors were received by BGen. Gaston Cote and LCol. Michel Crowe of the Quebec branch.
On September 13, 2018 Brent Lang, member of the British Columbia Branch, became a recipient of the Last Post Fund Award of Merit. The Award was presented by National President, LCol Ray Mikkola in the presence of the Honourable Janet Austen, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Brent Lang has led and directed to completion two significant Last Post Fund (LPF) commemoration projects at Surrey Centre Cemetery and Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. The two projects required a tremendous amount of volunteer time, persistence and diplomacy working with municipal officials. Brent’s outstanding contributions and efforts on these two projects has undoubtedly strengthened the profile of LPF in the Lower Mainland in a very meaningful and permanent way.
The Honourable Janet Austin, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (LPF BC Branch Patron) hosted, on September 13, 2018, the meeting of LPF BC Branch members at Government House in Victoria. It was also the first time that LCol Ray Mikkola (Retired) attended the Branch meeting in his capacity of National President. The Branch also welcomed LCol Beth Brown (Retired) as a new branch member. Government House is the office and official residence of the Lieutenant Governor and the ceremonial home of all British Columbians.
LCol Hans J Brink (Retired) Alberta Branch President and Maj Dan Brister (Retired) (in photo) attended the Western Canadian Cemetery Association Conference in Grande Prairie Alberta from September 11 to September 13 2018. Hans gave a 30-minute slide presentation on the Last Post Fund.
The Alberta Branch is having preliminary discussions with the City of Edmonton regarding the expansion of the Field of Honour at the Northern Lights Cemetery with an initial focus of a new Columbarium and possibly a Scattering Garden.
NEWS: Nunavik August 27, 2018 - 9:10 am http://nunatsiaq.com
By Sarah Rogers
A Nunavik Inuit veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces will be honoured for his service with a new military grave marker next year. Eddy Weetaltuk was a veteran of the Korean War and served 15 years with the Armed Forces. He died at home in Nunavik in 2005 at age 73, and was buried in the cemetery outside his home community of Umiujaq, along the Hudson coast.
Weetaltuk’s gravesite is adorned with artificial flowers and a wooden cross, but at least one community member felt like something was missing—any mention of his military service. That’s until Alan Patterson, a retired Umiujaq police officer and former Armed Forces veteran, wrote to the Prime Minister’s office earlier this year to ask to have Weetaltuk honoured.
“I knew Eddy when I was a policeman here,” Patterson said. “Eddy went to war for our country, and that’s something that needs to be recognized. Every military member is entitled to a military grave marker.”Patterson’s request went unanswered for several weeks until he recently heard back from the Last Post Fund, which delivers Veterans Affairs Canada’s funeral and burial program.
The Fund has agreed to design and deliver a marker to Umiujaq, which will be installed at Weetaltuk’s grave site sometime in 2019. The granite slab will include Weetaltuk’s name, rank, military unit and the motto “lest we forget.” And it may be the first grave marker of its kind to be laid in an Inuit community; Weetaltuk is considered the first and one of the few Inuit to have served in the Canadian army.
“Inuit participation in the Forces isn’t that high, besides the [Canadian] Rangers, so he may be the only one,” Patterson said. “It just bothered me that as a veteran, he didn’t have anything there.” Weetaltuk was born on the land in 1932 and grew up with his family on the islands in James Bay—often in famine conditions.
At age 19, Weetaltuk went to Ottawa and used a fake social insurance card to join the first battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He hid his Inuit identity for many years and went by the name Eddy Vital. Weetaltuk trained as a mortar operator and served with the mortar platoon in the Korean War. He was later stationed at Armed Forces bases in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, before he left the forces in 1967.
Weetaluktuk also wrote his autobiography, with the help of a Quebec anthropologist, which was published shortly after his death. Edouard Pahud, the executive director of the Last Post Fund, said he’s grateful that the Prime Minister’s Office forwarded Patterson’s email. “It finally got to us,” Pahud said.
“We call this an unmarked grave, where a veteran has died and his grave isn’t properly marked. “Eddy’s grave will be more dignified with one of our tombstones.” Staff at the Last Post Fund will spend the next months gathering and verifying Weetaltuk’s military history. Weetaltuk’s grave marker is among the first—if not the only—one made for an Inuk veteran, Pahud said.
“There’s not a great enough awareness that we exist,” he said. “And that’s a challenge we’d like to address.”
National President, LCol Ray Mikkola as well as members from the Saskatchewan branch, Brad Hrycyna and Larry Wong attended the 54th Biannual ANAVETS convention held in Saskatoon from August 12th to 14th, 2018. National President, LCol Ray Mikkola’s presentation of the LPF aroused a lot of interest and when the session broke there was a sudden increase in traffic at our booth by the delegates.
Two members of the Last Post Fund, BC Branch, LCol (Ret.d) Romano Acconci and Maj (Ret.d) Gino Simeoni visited the Agira Canadian War Cemetery on Nov 10, 2017 and left a Canadian flag with LPF lapel pin on two burial sites: the youngest casualty, P.te J. Osborne, RCA, age 17, and the oldest casualty, P.te M. Alleman, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment, age 49. The Agira Canadian War Cemetery is located on a small hill in the Commune of Agira and the Province of Enna, in the heart of Sicily, approximately 70 kilometres from Catania. It contains the graves of 490 Canadians (13 members of the RCAF and 477 of the army), six of whom are unidentified. The complete article will be published in the next edition of The Bugler.
The Last Post Fund (LPF) BC Branch was invited to attend and to lay an official wreath at the Vancouver Vimy Day Commemoration at Mountain View Cemetery (MVC) on Sunday, April 8th, 2018. Officials in attendance included the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Federal Minister of Justice, Members of Legislative Assembly and City of Vancouver councilors along with representatives of various veterans’ groups and regimental associations. Full article to be published in the next edition of The Bugler.
Her Honour The Honourable Judy M. Foote, P.C., O.N.L. Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Honourary Patron of the Last Post Fund in Newfoundland and Labrador. The 14th lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador was appointed on March 20, 2018. Prior to entering politics, Ms. Foote worked as a journalist and communications director. In addition to mentoring cancer patients, she has volunteered her time over the years with several organizations, including the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Her Honour The Honourable Janet Austin, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Honourary Patron of the Last Post Fund in British Columbia. The 30th lieutenant-governor of British Columbia was sworn in on April 24, 2018. Prior to this appointment, she spent 15 years as Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Metro Vancouver, one of the province’s largest and most diversified non-profits. There she oversaw operations delivering services to tens of thousands of people annually at more than 40 locations.
On Monday June 4th 2018, Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond Mikkola, CD (Retired) was appointed as the National President of the Last Post Fund. LCol Mikkola will serve a two year term, replacing Rear-Admiral Barry Keeler, CD (Retired) who now occupies the role of Past President of the Executive committee. LCol Mikkola has been a member of the Ontario branch of the Last Post Fund for 23 years. He is a partner and head of the corporate commercial division at Pallett Valo LLP law firm, in Mississauga. On behalf of the staff and membership of the Last Post Fund, we wish to congratulate LCol Mikkola on his new role and we look forward to serving Canadian veterans and their families under his leadership.
It is with great honour that the Last Post Fund was awarded the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association’s Outstanding Service Award. The award was presented on Friday, June 1st 2018, by Tim Sparling, CD, Vice President of the CPVA.
The CPVA was founded in 1991 and is a national, traditional, all Veteran, all volunteer, not-for-profit, apolitical, democratically and constitutionally based organization with Chapters from St.John's Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. The Association's Mission Statement is: "To be a strong and leading advocate for all Veterans and to provide a forum of comradeship for Veterans". As it is open to all Veterans, the CPVA's membership includes the entire spectrum of WW 2, Korean War, Peacekeeping, NATO, Balkan and Afghanistan campaigns, RCMP, civilian police and other Veterans, and international members.
Amongst the reasons cited by Mr. Sparling for bestowing this award on the Last Post Fund were the importance of the service the Fund delivers to Veterans and their families and also, the remarkable dedication with which the Fund has delivered the program, for nearly 110 years.
The Last Post Fund’s Annual commemorative ceremony at the National Field of Honour was held on Sunday, June 3rd 2018. This year, the Guest of honour was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Mrs. Sherry Romanado. The Last Post Fund would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in the event.
His Honour the Honourable W. Thomas Molloy, lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan has graciously accepted our invitation to be the Honourary Patron of the Last Post Fund in Saskatchewan.
The 22nd lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan was sworn in on March 21st 2018.
It is a pleasure to announce that Mr. Edouard (Ed) Pahud, CPA, CA assumed the position of Last Post Fund Executive Director on 3 January 2018. Ed brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Fund and is poised to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial for lack of financial resources. The Last Post Fund is fortunate to have a person of his exceptional calibre join the team.
The Last Post Fund has always remained true to its mission since its creation in Montreal by Arthur Hair in 1909. The Fund has provided financial benefits to more than 150,000 Veterans in need and their families.
“Remember the Veteran”
Rear-Admiral Barry Keeler, CD (Retired)
National President, Last Post Fund
Click here for the official press release in PDF format
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017
During the Board meeting of the Ontario Branch of the Last Post Fund, Monday November 20th, at the Royal Military Institute of Toronto, representatives of the Toronto Don Valley Freemason Lodge presented a donation of 19,000$. For a year, the Lodge has been raising funds to support the National Field of Honour, as well as other Last Post Fund commemoration projects. The Toronto Don Valley Lodge also announced that they will continue to support the Last Post Fund, in the future. This gesture of great generosity is highly appreciated.
Click here if you would like to donate to the Last Post Fund.
Victoria, BC, April 3, 2017 – Alistair Vigier appeared in BC Business’s 30 under 30 in the April magazine. Vigier worked for the Department of National Defence from 2007-2014 and was shot while on operation in 2009. After being medically released and recovering, Vigier started his career in marketing and sales with The Commissionaires.
In 2014 Vigier joined the Last Post Fund as a board member of the British Columbia office.
“I wanted to give back to the community and The Last Post Fund was something that was close to my heart. Throughout my medical release, I met a lot of veterans who were injured in Afghanistan or in other parts of the world,” said Vigier.
The Last Post Fund is a non-profit organization that has existed since 1909. The Last Post Fund raises funds for veterans who were honourably discharged and have fallen on hard times. It is the goal of The Last Post Fund to make sure that every Canadian veteran can afford a funeral.
The Last Post Fund wants to raise awareness of the fund, as many families of veterans do not know that the fund exists. If you know of a veteran who recently deceased, please contact the Last Post Fund. Toll Free 1 800 465-7113
In the case of a Veteran with a spouse or dependent children (or both), the combined assets of the couple are considered, excluding the following:
• A base amount of $36, 310 (raised from $12,015 on October 1st 2016)
• $700 per dependent child
• The family house and vehicle
• Income received during the month of death
On top of Vigier's volunteer work with the Last Post Fund, Vigier works in Investor Relations for HART Legal. HART Legal now has sixteen law firms throughout North America.
You can learn more about Vigier by viewing the BC BUSINESS article here: https://www.bcbusiness.ca/30-under-30-winner-Alistair-Vigier
The Veterans Ombudsman, in consultation with the Veterans Ombudsman's Advisory Council (VOAC), awards the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation, in recognition of the efforts of these individuals and groups. The intent of the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation is to recognize and honour the exceptional dedication, hard-work and selfless motivation of an individual or group's contribution to Canada's Veterans and their families.
This year, Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens, C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d) has been commended in the Lifetime contribution category. Lieutenant General Cuppens is a Past President of the Last Post Fund and continues to be an active member.
The Last Post Fund annual Commemorative Ceremonies took
Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th in Montreal.
The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, was the Guest of Honour.
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and
RAdm Barry Keeler (retired), President of the Last Post Fund
The Last Post Funds Annual Commemorative Ceremonies took place on Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th.
On Saturday June 3rd, a ceremony honouring the memory of sailors took place by the historical Clock Tower in Old Montreal. Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Deputy Commander or the Royal Canadian Navy was a gracious guest of Honour and spoke highly of HMCS Donnaconna, who provided precious assistance to flood victims in recent weeks.
On Sunday morning, a small group gathered to pay respects at the Field of Honour of Mount-Royal cemetery, before the larger ceremony in the West later that day in Pointe-Clare.
The Ceremony at the National Field of Honour was a great success. The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, was the Guest of Honour for the occasion.
The Last Post Fund would like to thank everyone who participated in the 2017 Commemorative Ceremonies and we look forward to seeing you again next year!
Arthur Hair, founder of the Last Post Fund
THE YEAR IN BRIEF
A few statistics from 2016-2017
Funeral and Burial Program
The Last Post Fund approved 1,151 applications for grants (of which 60 for Allied Veterans), compared to 1,175 the previous year. Total payments reached $7,693,639.
462 Modern-Day Veterans receiving a disability compensation qualified for funeral and burial assistance through means-testing in accordance with the Veterans Burial Regulations. Veterans Affairs provided $551,007 for the delivery of 555 markers through the Program.
Unmarked Grave Program
During the year, 314 markers were installed. Total cost for Veterans Affairs Canada: $483,249. Since the inception of the Program in 1996, the graves of more than 4,500 Veterans have been identified and properly marked across the country. Total expenditure: $3.5M.
National Field of Honour
178 burials were conducted at the Field of Honour. Since 1930, the year of its inauguration, 22,031 burials have taken place at this unique military cemetery.
All Veterans have become eligible for the Funeral and Burial Program administered by the Fund on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada. Donation funds are used exclusively to support activities that complement the Funeral and Burial Program. The Last Post Fund received $160,086.36$ in charity donations in 2016-2017.