REGINA, Nov. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, accompanied by two Korean War Veterans from Regina, Ken Garbutt and Larry Adams, presented the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Trophy to the Canadian Football League (CFL) player who best demonstrates the attributes of Canada's Veterans in times of war, military conflict and peace. The recipient, Shea Emry, was presented the trophy as part of the Gibson's Finest CFL Player Awards Ceremony.
"This partnership between Veterans Affairs Canada and the CFL presents a unique opportunity to reach a wide audience, recognizing the achievements of our Veterans," said Minister Fantino. "It is vital that we continue to honour the legacy of our Veterans, whose sacrifices have directly contributed to our development as a peaceful and prosperous nation. An award such as this celebrates the personal stories of the heroes that make up our rich history."
"My congratulations to Shea Emry. It is my privilege to represent our Government at such a special event," said Government House Leader Van Loan. "This prestigious award is a merging of passions, celebrating a great national pastime and creating more awareness of the extraordinary people who have served our country."
This year's recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award, Emry, a native of Richmond, British Columbia, was chosen for the leadership he has shown on the field and in his public life.
A ferocious competitor on the field, the Montréal Alouette linebacker suffers from depression, a fact he once kept hidden from his teammates and coaches out of fear of embarrassment. But he has made a courageous choice, to consistently speak out about mental illness so people better understand how depression can affect anyone.
Emry has shared his story with thousands of young people across Canada, encouraging them to speak out about mental health. He has founded "Change the Stigma," an organization designed to provide a platform for athletes to share their stories about mental illness and the pressures that come with being an elite athlete.
He is also active in several community programs, from anti-bullying campaigns to the Movember Movement for men's health research. He overcame a serious concussion in 2011 to become an all-star in 2012, and posted 44 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions during the 2013 season.
"Shea is a remarkable young man who inspires not only his teammates and his audiences but thousands of people he has yet to meet," said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. "We congratulate him on such a prestigious award, one designed to honour our veterans as much, if not more, than we honour our athletes."
Prior to the awards ceremony, the Grey Cup was on display as part of an event held at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada and the CFL.
Jake Gaudaur is recognized as a Canadian hero. A Canadian fighter pilot instructor during the Second World War, he won Grey Cups as both a player and an executive, before serving as commissioner of the CFL from 1968 to 1984. His story embodies the historic bond between the league and Veterans, one that is celebrated with the presentation of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award.
The award, now in its fourth year, is part of a Veterans' Tribute project partnership between the Canadian Football League and Veterans Affairs Canada.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
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Veterans Affairs Canada
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Canadian Football League
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Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs