Just recently a neighbour, and one of the last remaining veterans on the West Bench, died. We would chat at the mailbox, say hello at neighbourhood dinners and wave as we passed each other on our quiet street.
Although I was curious, I never did hear the story of how he ended up on the West Bench, purchasing land and building a home through the Veterans Land Act in the early 1950s.
Thank goodness for local historians like David Snyder. Because of his efforts, I didn’t miss out on my neighbour’s history – recorded in his latest collection of veterans’ stories from the South Okanagan in Penticton Remembers Volume II.
“There were and are more interesting vets’ stories,” says Snyder when explaining why he wrote a second volume. “The fact that there are seven POW stories, two still alive, is a moving tribute to those men that suffered so.”
Fifty-two veterans are profiled in the book including my neighbour Ken Campbell, Jim Beasom, Ted Chapman, Elford Cossentine, Harold Kenyon, Richard Norris, Ugo Redivo, Hendrik Saaltink and Jack Stocks.
Readers will recognize many of the other veterans’ names as well, some who went on to become key figures in the community. In fact, Snyder has included the story of his own son, Jonathan Snyder, who died while on duty in Afghanistan.
Penticton Remembers is a fundraiser for Penticton Secondary School scholarship and bursary funds, including the local cadet bursary and the Gerald Roach Memorial Scholarship for serious art students. “The PSS foundation does an excellent service to Penticton grads, therefore, I’m happy to support the same.”
The public is invited to the book launch of Penticton Remembers Volume II on April 23, 1 p.m. at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. Join Snyder for goodies, coffee, tea and conversation. Seventeen of the 52 veterans profiled in the book are yet living, and Snyder hopes to have 15 of them at the book launch.
The book sells for $30, taxes included. It will be available for purchase at the book launch, at The Bookshop (242 Main St.) and at The Dragon’s Den (12 Front St.).