The Vimy Foundation welcomes General Rick Hillier (ret.) as honorary chair

MONTREAL, June 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Vimy Foundation is very pleased to welcome General Rick Hillier (ret.), the former Chief of the Defence Staff of Canada's Armed Forces, as honorary chair.

Hillier is best known to Canadians as the straight-talking commander of the NATO-led International Security Force in Kabul, Afghanistan from October 2003 to February 2005. His reputation for integrity, trademark passion and dedication to the troops under his command has earned him praise from across Canada. Hillier retired as Chief of the Defence Staff, Canada's highest military rank, in July 2008.

"Throughout my career, I have committed myself to protecting the values and reputation of Canada around the world. The Vimy Foundation's mission, especially with the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize program, is to convey the same message of patriotism and leadership that I strongly believe in," he explains. "The Battle of Vimy Ridge is a pivotal event in our country's history, helping to define who we are as a nation. I'm proud to help to spread this message to people across Canada, in the United Kingdom and in France."

General Hillier's involvement will also add new visibility to the Foundation's efforts, especially among soldiers, veterans and the media.

"It is important that the Vimy Foundation have a well-known personality of stature like General Hillier to give his blessing to the cause. Such easily recognized approval helps the public at large appreciate the significance of our mission," explains Andrew Powell, president of the Vimy Foundation. "General Hillier's distinguished background, his patriotism and gravitas as a great Canadian are well known and will add lustre to the work of the Vimy Foundation."

About the Foundation

The Vimy Foundation is a registered charity founded in 2006 to make young people more aware of the vital role Canadian soldiers played at Vimy Ridge, a landmark engagement of the First World War. Inspired by those events, the Foundation created the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize, bringing together youth from Canada, the United Kingdom and France so that they can better appreciate their intertwined history and the lessons that can be learned from it. The Foundation also sponsors Vimy: Canada's Coming of Age, a unique educational experience for youth at Encounters with Canada in Ottawa. The next edition will take place in April 2011.

To mark Vimy Ridge Day (April 9) the Foundation encourages Canadians to wear a Vimy Pin - 'April's poppy', available from the Foundation - and to attend commemorative events. To learn more, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.

For further information: Interviews: Andrew Ross, Ravenhill Communications for The Vimy Foundation, Tel: 514 953-4877, Email: andrew@ravenhillcomm.ca; Source: Andrew Powell, President, The Vimy Foundation