Author and professor Ted Barris receives rare commendation from the Minister of Veterans Affairs

TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - As an author, journalist, broadcaster and speaker, Ted Barris has dedicated many years to sharing the stories of Canada's war veterans. When Barris was in school, Canada's war history was not taught like it is today. Inspired by his father, a veteran, Barris' philosophy about writing is, "If there's a story that's not been told, tell it."

Centennial College journalism professor Ted Barris received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation on July 27. It is awarded annually to individuals who have contributed in an exemplary manner to the care and well-being of war veterans or to the remembrance of their contributions, sacrifices and achievements. The commendation is traditionally awarded to veterans and is rarely given to civilians.

Over the years Barris has written the voices of veterans into his work and has shared Canada's war history through many speaking engagements. Barris estimates he has interviewed 4,000 veterans over his career and many of their stories have been recounted in the 16 non-fiction books Barris has written to date.

"Each veteran invited me into their memories to share with the country their experiences, good or bad. Without their stories, none of what I do is possible," says Barris. Even when their name isn't listed in Barris' books, they know they contributed. "When a vet comes up to me, the greatest compliment is when he or she says 'my name isn't in your book, but my story is.'"

Receiving the commendation came as a surprise to Barris. He has been leading travel tours of battlefields in Europe for more than eight years, and was on a tour in Germany when he received the news. Being nominated and selected by veterans, the honour carries great weight for Barris: "It was both powerful and humbling."

Barris brought his stories and passion with him when he began teaching journalism at Centennial College in 1999. Since that time, Barris has raised the profile of Remembrance Day at the college by organizing a full observance including a colour guard from the Legion and a bugler playing the last post. Veterans come to the ceremony to share their stories and answer students' questions. Through Barris' efforts students get genuine insights into the meaning of Remembrance Day.

The public is invited to join Ted Barris at Centennial College's annual Remembrance Day ceremony at 10:30 am at The Centre for Creative Communications, 951 Carlaw Avenue in East York.

This media release was based on a story written by Centennial College student Will Pennell.

SOURCE Centennial College

For further information:

Media contact: Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, 416-289-5000, ext. 7142, mtoljagic@centennialcollege.ca


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