Lost Veterans Initiative Field Notes No.4

BGen Gaston Côté : Combining our Resources to Better Serve

Brigadier-General (Ret'd) Gaston Côté, OMM, CD began serving with the LPF in 1995 while commanding Canadian Forces Base Montreal and supporting National Field of Honor activities. After his retirement, he joined the ranks of the Quebec branch, where he has held various positions since 2010.

In October of last year, Brigadier-General (Retired) Gaston Côté, OMM, CD contacted the Quebec President of the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) as part of the Lost Veterans Initiative. He suggested that the Legion mobilize their Quebec members "as reinforcements" in the effort to identify and mark the unmarked graves of veterans.

“As both our organizations are working towards a similar goal for the same population - that of Veterans - it seems only natural to me that we inform each other about our activities, and that we combine our resources."

It was, according to Gaston, a perfect fit.

In order to clarify the nature of the understanding between the two organizations, Gaston drafted a cooperation agreement which explains the expectations and responsibilities on both sides. After three months of discussions, made more difficult by the inability to meet in person, the Legion’s provincial council made the decision in January to support the Initiative.

A Vice-President of the Legion was appointed to oversee the research activity, assisted by two associates. Gaston has provided them with background material on the Lost Veterans Initiative, and remains available to answer their questions.

The partnership is already enjoying success: several dozen potential names of Veterans lacking a marker have been reported. These names will be reviewed by the Quebec branch of the Last Post Fund before submitting the requests for marking to the Fund's National Office.

Gaston has also started an awareness campaign with regional media, which could include advertisements as well as articles aiming to inform Veterans' families of the Initiative as well as to stimulate volunteer participation. At the same time, he is working to compile a list of genealogical societies in Quebec, which are a tremendous source of information.

Field Notes is a newsletter dedicated to highlighting the work of Last Post Fund volunteer researchers contributing to the Lost Veterans Initiative. If you are interested in finding out more about the Initiative, please contact Last Post Fund at info@lastpost.ca or by calling: 1-800-465-7113.