Five Cape Bretoners honoured
Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation presented at ceremony
Five Cape Bretoners were recognized with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for their dedication to Canada’s veterans.
Minister of Veteran Affairs Erin O’Toole made the presentation at a ceremony Friday in Halifax.
“These individuals represent the very best of what it means to serve your community — to serve one another,” said O’Toole in a news release. “They are an inspiration and they are vital to the well-being of our veteran population.”
The five Cape Bretoners recognized are Jerome Burke of New Waterford, Clarence Dawe and Elizabeth Simpson, both of Sydney Mines, Frank Martinello of Sydney and George McPhee of Louisdale.
Others honoured were Norman Crewe of Halifax, Howard Einarson and Jim Lowther of Dartmouth, Karen Ewing of Bass River, Maj. Jason Samson of Hammonds Plains, Lawerence Truelove of Milton, Stephen Wessel of Lake Echo and Const. Reid Smith of Moncton, N.B.
Burke has been a member of Unit 217 Army, Navy and Air Force in New Waterford since 2002. He has held the offices of vice-president of Unit 217 and vice-president of the Nova Scotia Command.
He is currently serving as vicepresident of the Dominion Command and service officer for his unit.
Burke is also a member of Royal Canadian Legion branch 15, where he dedicates time to working on the poppy campaign. He serves as the master of ceremonies for the annual Remembrance Day service and the Veterans Appreciation Day celebrations for the New Waterford unit. As a member of the honour guard, Burke attends funeral services for all veterans in his area.
He is also a member of the Cape Breton Naval Veterans Association.
Dawe is a Canadian Armed Forces veteran. In 1966, he joined Royal Canadian Legion branch 008 and has served in all offices with the exception of service officer.
He was elected president for three consecutive years and has been awarded a life membership, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Palm Leaf from his local branch.
In 1985, Dawe was elected Zone 1 commander, a position he held until 1993 when he was elected vice-chair of the Nova Scotia Command.
In 1997, he was elected first vice-president, assuming the role of president of the Nova Scotia Command in 1999. He was subsequently elected to represent the Nova Scotia Command on the Dominion executive council.
In recognition of his hard work and dedication, Dawe received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
He was also instrumental in finalizing the union of the Nunavut and Northwest Territories Command with the Nova Scotia Command, now known as the Nova Scotia and Nunavut Command.
Dawe visits veterans in veterans wings at hospitals throughout Sydney Mines and Glace Bay.
Simpson has been a member of the ladies auxiliary of Royal Canadian Legion branch 008 since 1979 and a branch member since 1986.
Through her experience assisting in branch visits to veterans homes and hospitals, she became interested in helping veterans and their families in other areas.
For 28 years, Simpson has held the post of service officer for branch 008 and she has the reputation of being one of the most effective service officers in the area. She has also held a number of other executive positions, including president, secretary, treasurer, district commander and provincial poppy committee chairperson for Nova Scotia.
During her tenure as branch president, the branch purchased land and built a kitchen and patio area for veterans to enjoy picnics during the summer. In addition, she has been a committee member of the poppy, remembrance and social committees of branch 008.
She is co-chair of the D-Day parade and was one of the originators of the Cape Breton Comfort Fund, which oversees the wellbeing of disabled and sick veterans.
Simpson is a dedicated and tireless volunteer advocating on behalf of Cape Breton veterans and was a member of the advisory group for the Veterans Affairs Canada Sydney district office.
Martinello is a Canadian Armed Forces veteran with 28 years of service. He has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion for more than 45 years and is currently service officer for branch 128.
For the last 10 years, Martinello has been actively involved with veterans and their families throughout the Atlantic provinces, assisting with benefit and pension forms, war veterans allowance appeals and Last Post fund applications.
He organizes veterans funerals, assists families and ensures RCL comrades are informed. Martinello is also a supporter of the sick and visiting committee, delivering clothing, food and toys in the Louisbourg area, and he volunteers with the red kettle program for the Salvation Army.
Martinello is the epitome of veteran advocate, acting upon all requests with compassion and diligence. He was awarded the RCL Meritorious Service Medal by the Dominion Command for his outstanding devotion.
McPhee is a retired Canadian Armed Forces Veteran, having served in Canada and abroad for 26 years. He joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1993 and continues to be an active member.
He has held the branch positions of first vice-president, sergeant-at-arms and he is currently a service officer, where he assists veterans and their families with pension applications.
He assists the local Lions Club with its meals on wheels program by delivering meals to veterans and seniors. He also often provides transportation and accompanies veterans to medical appointments.
McPhee co-ordinated with other volunteers and offered free labour to his RCL branch in order for extensive renovations to be made. It is estimated he, along with his team of volunteers, saved the branch $240,000 in labour costs.
He is also responsible for having a cenotaph erected in the community of Louisdale, Richmond County.
For his contributions to the veteran community, McPhee has been recognized as Legionnaire of the Year, has been awarded the Legion Service Medal and the 2012 Century of Service Veterans Honorary Medallion.
Clarence Dawe of Sydney Mines.
Frank Martinello of Sydney.
Elizabeth Simpson of Sydney Mines.
George McPhee of Louisdale.
Jerome Burke of New Waterford.