Have you ever met a hero? You might have without really knowing it.
More often than not, they are ordinary people; a neighbour or the teenager down the street, someone who wouldn’t hesitate to help others when needed.
In my capacity as the Kelowna-Lake Country Member of Parliament, I’ve had a few occasions to not only meet these folks in person, but to see them honoured for what they have done.
At the end of October, I had the great privilege of attending a ceremony at Rideau Hall where Governor General David Johnston bestowed the Medal of Bravery upon a number of Canadians.
I can’t tell you how proud I felt when two of the medals were given to our own constituents—Matthew Jackson and Tyler Lockerby, both of Kelowna—for saving four people from a vehicle submerged in Griffin Lake.
Two ordinary people who are heroes in our community.
In fact, as we approach Remembrance Day, quite a few heroes in our community come to mind.
As a young boy growing up in a middle class family in Edmonton, Remembrance Day was always an important reminder of what it meant to make the ultimate sacrifice for others.
Like most people, our family honoured our brave men and women in uniform by purchasing poppies, reciting In Flanders Fields and pausing for a moment of silence on a chilly November day precisely at the 11th hour on the 11th day.
So many of those heroes have left us but others remain, especially Canada’s young veterans returning from Afghanistan. They all deserve to be honoured.
Such was the case last Saturday, when I attended the funeral of Bishop Fraser Berry.
Bishop Berry, a recipient of a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, was a member of the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
Back here at home, he was a lifelong member of the Royal Canadian Legion and chaplain to the Okanagan division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’ Association.
Right up to his passing at the age of 85, Bishop Berry continued to officiate at military and veterans’ functions and remained active in our community. He was helping veterans and their families until his last breath, always putting others first.
I’ll have a chance to meet with our veterans and their families when I’m back in the riding Nov. 4 to the 13 attending some of the local Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Once again this year, it will be my honour to accompany Mary Cardiff (also a recipient of the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation) at some of the ceremonies for veterans confined to hospital and retirement and home care facilities.
Thanks to Cardiff’s efforts in the past 25 years, our veterans have been able to participate in this important day of remembrance, and I know from speaking with them that it means so much.
I hope you’ll buy a poppy, wear it proudly and take the time next Friday to join with our community to honour our veterans at one of our cenotaphs in Lake Country, Lions Park in Rutland or Kelowna City Park.
While you’re remembering their sacrifice, I hope you’ll also take heart knowing that all around us in our community there are good people willing to do what it takes to help each other when we need it the most.
These are the heroes who walk among us and it’s quite possible you are one of them.
Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.