First annual Take a Veteran to Dinner in Cornwall

Shawna O'Neill, TC Media
First annual Take a Veteran to Dinner in Cornwall
Levi Oakes (left) with Cornwall City Councillor Syd Gardiner at the November 2018 Veterans Dinner in Cornwall at the Legion (Shawna O'Neill/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Ramada Inn saw a packed banquet hall on Sunday, Oct. 28 during the first annual Take a Veteran to Dinner event in the city. 

According to Co-Chairmen of the event, Gorden Lanctot and Syd Gardiner, over 100 Veterans were in attendance of the 207 total attendees.

“We will need a bigger space next year,” said Gardiner. Due to capacity restraints, the organizing committee unfortunately could not accommodate everyone who was interested.

After attending similar Veteran Dinner events in Ottawa and Orillia, Lanctot wanted to bring the event to Cornwall. The organizing committee is very grateful for all of the generous event sponsors.

“The sponsors put us in a positions where Veterans and their spouses don’t have to pay (to attend),” explained Gardiner.

After the opening ceremonies and dinner, Veterans would be asked to stand and would be acknowledged for their service.

“It’s for you to enjoy the company of your fellow comrades,” said Gardiner to attendees.

Gardiner explained that many Veterans were feeling modest and didn’t necessarily want to be recognized during the event. Gardiner understands the importance of comradery and socializing amongst induviduals retired from service; five of Gardiner’s close family members served overseas in the military.

Also in attendance were active members of the Royal Canadian Air force Training School, as well as SDG Highlanders. The event’s guest of honour was Levi Oakes, the last surviving Akwesasne Mohawk Code Talker.  

“These men put their lives on the line…for us to be here,” said Gardiner. Gardiner said the event will become an annual occasion. 

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