An initiative honouring and documenting stories of Canadian veterans for about two decades continues to grow, with the Town of Lacombe being the most recent addition to the list of tribute sites. Veterans Voices of Canada, a Sylvan Lake-based organization was started by Allan Cameron, a man with a video camera and an understanding of the importance of veteran documentation.
Cameron, the Veterans Voices of Canada founding executive director, said, “Our Veterans Voices of Canada-Flags of Remembrance Cross Canada tribute was quite successful in several communities across Canada this year.
“Our 2021 tribute sites included Sylvan Lake (our original site), Lacombe, Windsor (ON), Dunnville (ON), Philipsburg (QC), and Sydney (NS).
“Particularly successful was one of our new tribute sites in Lacombe where the local Royal Canadian Legion hosted our tribute in that community. Because of their hard work and belief in our Flags of Remembrance cause, they were able to find community support and sponsor for all 128 Plaques of Honour at their tribute site, and therefore we were able to donate $19,816 to that Legion.”
Cameron thanked the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe branch 79, local businesses, community members, and the City and County of Lacombe for complete support in making the first year of tribute a true success. He said, “Their hard work, dedication, and our mutual understanding of the importance of honouring and commemorating our heroes truly paid off as seen by the community support received.”
Cameron said, “Our trademarked and copy-written Veterans Voices of Canada-Flags of Remembrance cross Canada tribute gives honour to our 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action from the Boer War to current missions.
“We do this by displaying and unfurling 128 full-sized Canadian flags at our opening ceremonies in our host communities across Canada. The unique part of our tribute is all sites unfurl their flags on the same day at the same moment.”
Through funds raised locally in Sylvan Lake this year, Veterans Voices of Canada donated $2,500 to two Laker veterans.
Cameron said, “Just over $20,000 was raised here in Sylvan Lake with the support of community businesses and individuals, compared to almost $40,000 raised in Lacombe.
“We thank all who supported our tribute in this way and look forward to at least matching our Lacombe tribute site in that they successfully sponsored all 128 Plaque of Honour sponsorships. We like to think of this also as a community support-friendly competition.
“Our Lacombe tribute site and their committee of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 79 have bragging rights for this year. We hope Sylvan Lake can regain those rights for our 2022 tribute!”
Cameron looks forward to regular ceremonies next year. He said continued community support is vital to keeping the tributes alive.
Cameron said, “I look forward to getting back to our regular amazing ceremonies, as well as extending our copy-written and trademarked tribute across Canada.
“Although we first need to raise funds for the work we do within our organization, including our veteran documentation. One truly important community initiative is a planned History Interest and Learning Centre, hopefully in Sylvan Lake if we can find developer support.
We do need continued community support. Although we could utilize all funds we receive through our fundraising initiatives, we realize that giving is an important tool to help all organizations succeed as well as for continued growth across Canada.
“Another motto we live by is if all organizations help each other succeed in each of our missions, we will all truly succeed. Through the success of our Flags of Remembrance tribute since 2014, we have made donations to other deserving organizations within each of our tribute site communities across Canada.
“We’ve also assisted Veterans when the needs arose and where we were able to.”
Veterans Voices of Canada will be conducting a Zoom information session Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. (MST) for those looking to join the list of 128 tribute communities across Canada.
A link to the Zoom meeting will be posted to Veterans Voices of Canada’s website at vetvoicecan.org. Further questions and clarifications can be directed to Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org.