HALIFAX, June 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Canada's Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent will present later today the 2016 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation to three deserving individuals for their exceptional contribution to the well-being of Veterans and their families: Jenifer Migneault, Allan DeGenova, and Lorne McCartney (posthumous).
"I am a firm believer that we must recognize the individuals and groups who dedicate significant time and effort to ensuring that the needs of those who served our country are met." said Mr. Parent. "The involvement of these Commendation recipients is essential to the well-being of the Veterans' community. Recognition of their efforts and initiatives can become a source of motivation for others who work tirelessly on behalf of Veterans and whose work is too often done in the shadows."
A fourth recipient, The Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command's Leave the Streets Behind program, was presented the award yesterday in front of peers at The Royal Canadian Legion's 46th Dominion Convention in St. John's, Nfld. "It was a pleasure to share with Legion colleagues my sincere appreciation for their dedication and efforts," added Mr. Parent.
"Whether providing care, establishing organizations to support those in need, advocating for improvements or making personal sacrifices, the contributions of all the recipients make a significant difference in the lives of Veterans and their families. This is why we award the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation to deserving individuals and organizations each year."
For details about the contribution of each 2016 recipients, consult the Ombudsman's Commendation Recipient page or refer to the attached Backgrounder.
2016 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation Recipients
This week, Canada's Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent awarded the 2016 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation to four deserving recipients. The Commendation is awarded annually to individuals and organizations for their efforts that make a profound difference in the lives of Veterans and their families.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command – Leave the Streets Behind program
Launched in 2010, The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command's Leave the Streets Behind program provides outreach, emergency shelter, transition housing, financial assistance and access to addiction and counselling services to homeless and at-risk Veterans across Ontario. To date, the program has helped over 500 Veterans get off the street and assisted in providing permanent housing to over 250 homeless Veterans. With the success of this program, The Royal Canadian Legion launched the national Leave the Streets Behind program in 2012 to assist homeless and at-risk Veterans across the country. The importance of this program as a building block to assist homeless Veterans across Ontario and then extended nationally cannot be understated. Through its exceptional leadership, initiative and dedication Ontario Command has been instrumental in establishing a national initiative linking all levels of government and community resources to ensure that homeless Veterans get access to the resources they need.
Allan De Genova
Honour House President, Allan De Genova, was inspired by the story of a Canadian Soldier, Captain Trevor Greene, who was very seriously injured as he served with the Canadian Military in Afghanistan in 2006. Captain Trevor Greene's family struggled to find a way to be by his side as he recovered overseas and also when he arrived back in Canada. Allan recognized a need to provide more support for those who serve and the vision of a "home away from home" for military and emergency services families was born. Allan was handed a challenge coin by the then-Canadian Chief of Defence, General Rick Hillier which inspired him to power forward relentlessly with his vision until Honour House was opened in New Westminster in November 2010. Set on a quiet tree-lined street, Honour House is a beautiful, fully-accessible 10 bedroom and ensuite home with a large shared kitchen that provides a temporary home for Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, Emergency Services Personnel and their families while they travel to receive medical care and treatment in the Metro Vancouver area. Just over four years later, Honour House has provided thousands of nights of free accommodation for our men and women in uniform and their families as they've gone through some of the toughest times in their lives.
Lorne McCartney (posthumous)
After 25 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces, Lorne McCartney continued to serve by taking on the role of Dominion Secretary-Treasurer with the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) for nearly ten years. Guided by his motto "What is best for the Veteran and their family?" Lorne dedicated much of his time to advocating for Veterans and their families as a participant of the Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder meetings, the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group, the Gerontological Advisory Council and the Special Needs Advisory Group. He was also on the Advisory Councils of the Canadian War Museum, the Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre, and the Veterans Ombudsman. In 2011, as the NATO Veterans of Canada Association was forming, Lorne acted as mentor and advisor on issues surrounding the New Veterans Charter, Long-Term Care and funeral and burial benefits. Although Lorne passed away in 2016, he is remembered by his colleagues, friends and Veterans for his dedication, in-depth knowledge, and unwavering commitment to helping Veterans and their families get the support they deserve.
Jenifer Migneault is a dedicated and devoted caregiver of a Veteran suffering from PTSD, as well as an advocate on behalf of all caregivers. Her efforts have led to a national discussion on support to military families, especially those caring for ill and injured Veterans. Her resolve and tenacity led her to knock on every door available resulting in Veterans Affairs Canada launching new programs and benefits to help caregivers of ill and injured Veterans. Jenifer shares her story publicly and openly to help others struggling with the issues she has faced. She organizes meetings to help Veterans and their families, posts videos to YouTube and Facebook and blogs regularly to ensure families know they have someone to lean on. She has become a trusted source of support and encouragement for other caregivers, and continues to contribute to an important national conversation on their treatment. As a result of her tireless efforts, she has recently been appointed to the Minister's Advisory Group on Families.
For more information on the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation and past recipients, visit http://ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-us/ombudsman/commendation.
SOURCE Veterans Ombudsman
For further information: Lucille Hodgins, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, 613-943-7884, [email protected]