A Cloverdale man is one of exceptional 13 British Columbia citizens who were honoured today by Veterans Affairs minister Steven Blaney at a special ceremony in Richmond.
Earle Fraser has been presented with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, an honour recognizing hard work, selfless commitment and dedication to veterans.
“These individuals have made a real and lasting difference with their service and dedication to our nation’s truest heroes,” Blaney said. “On behalf of all Canadians, I am proud to acknowledge their extraordinary efforts in helping to provide the care and recognition our veterans and their families deserve.”
Fraser is currently serving as second vice president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 in Cloverdale. Among his many accomplishments is his instrumental role in efforts to restore the graves of Surrey’s First World War veterans.
In 2010, about 60 graves at Surrey Centre Cemetery in Cloverdale – including some that had never been properly marked and were nearly forgotten about – were refurbished and re-dedicated.
Second World War veteran Syd Pratt, formerly of Cloverdale, was also recognized at today’s ceremony.
Pratt, 91, is a powerhouse fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign. In 2010, the Kelowna legion member singlehandedly collected $33,660 by selling poppies, beating his own record of $28,500.
He’s been part of the poppy campaign for more than 20 years. Last year, his stepdaughter Sharon Anderson of Cloverdale told The Reporter: “Every year he’s tried to beat the previous year. He’s so dedicated. He just loves it.”
At today’s ceremony, the minister also presented the commendation to the following individuals: John Bishop of Cobble Hill, Velma Emberly of Victoria, Jack Fraser of Salt Spring Island, Vancouver’s Sandi Greenfield, Roy Kawamoto of Kelowna, Kelly Kwong of Burnaby, Bob Maley of North Vancouver, Robert Morrison of Vancouver, Gerard Ratchford of Esquimalt and Willliam Whalen of Pitt Meadows.
The commendation is presented to individuals who have contributed to the care and well-being of veterans and to the remembrance of their contributions, sacrifices and achievements. It is intended primarily for veterans, but in some circumstances may also be awarded to non-veterans.