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Pledges to plant flags for vets at George Derby Centre
Henry Garneau doesn't like to talk about his experiences as a Canadian soldier in Korea. But his eyes alight and his chest puffs out with pride when he's offered a small Canadian flag to hold for a photo opportunity.
That means he'll likely be bursting when thousands of the little flags are fluttering on the lawn of his home, the George Derby Centre, on Remembrance Day morning.
The Centre, which is the only seniors care facility in the province that offers priority access to veterans, is holding its first Pledge a Flag campaign to raise awareness about the work they do caring for aging military men and women, as well as funds for some of their programs, like the needlepoint Garneau loves to do to keep his fingers and mind sharp.
Each pledge of at least five dollars ensures a flag will be planted in the grass along the busy commuter route on 16th Avenue and Cumberland Street. Flags can even be dedicated by donors to lost loved ones.
"A lot of people drive by and don't know who we are," said Mel Elliot, the acting executive director at George Derby. "There's a reverence and respect that we care for vets."
Around 300 veterans live at the Centre said Elliot. Many of them are reluctant to dwell on their military service, but they turn out en masse for the Remembrance Day service that's held at the small cenotaph next to the facility's front door. Against a brilliant background of up to 5,000 red and white Canadian flags, that service is sure to be extra special.
"It's going to mean everything to them," said Elliot. "Part of our goal is to let the community know that we also honour our vets the other 364 days of the year. We have to keep the torch going."
To pledge a flag with a five dollar donation, text FLAG to 45678 on your mobile phone, or call the George Derby Centre at 604-527-4465.