Legion reacts to Stolen Valor

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By Nick Seebruch
Legion reacts to Stolen Valor
Cpt. Terry Birch signing the City of Cornwall's Book of Recognition allegedly wearing medals that Stolen Valor claims he did not earn (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall Legion Branch 297 is reacting after one of its members was called out by Stolen Valor for allegedly wearing military medals he did not earn.

Stolen Valor is an organization dedicated to investigating those improperly wearing medals.

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, Stolen Valor published a tweet alleging that Capt. Terrence “Terry” Birch was wearing several medals in public that he is not entitled to wear.

Stolen Valor alleges that there is no evidence that Birch is entitled to wear the Special Service Medal, Centennial Medal, Canada 125th Medal or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Stolen Valor further alleges that Birch’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers should be investigated and reviewed due to it’s awarding being based on his claimed service record.

Hugh Primeau, President of the Cornwall Legion, stated on Wednesday, Aug. 21 that they do not, and are not able, to verify the service records of its members as they do not have access to those records.

“People are saying that it is our fault, but we can’t check,” explained Ken Heagle, District Commander of Legion Branch 297.

Primeau did say that Birch had been a member of Cornwall Legion Branch 297 since 2015 when he transferred from the Quebec Command.

“When individuals commit stolen valor . . .  they degrade the honour and sacrifice many made to protect our freedoms,” he said.

Wearing military medals, or uniforms not properly bestowed, or imitation medals or uniforms, is a violation of Section 419 of the Criminal Code. The Legion condemns any Criminal Code violation.

A Criminal Code violation would be investigated by the local police service.

Primeau said that if the allegations against Birch are verified, that the Legion would take proper actions at that time.

Birch briefly served on the Executive Committee of the Legion Branch 297, but left of his own accord according to Primeau.

Earlier in 2019, Birch was invited by the City of Cornwall to sign the City’s Book of Recognition in honour of his volunteer work in the community.

Primeau said that the Legion has had no contact with Birch since these allegations came to light.

The Cornwall Police Service said that as of Wednesday, no complaint had yet been filed related to stolen valor.

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