A Lifetime Contribution of Helping Veterans
Ottawa, ON - October 3, 2017
We have been fortunate to receive exceptional nominations for individuals and organizations who improve the lives of Veterans in their communities for this year’s Veterans Ombudsman Commendation. The four recipients were announced on September 14, 2017.
We want to share the accomplishments of the recipients, but much more than that, we want to share their inspiration with the hope of motivating others to take action supporting Veterans in their communities.
To do so, we asked this year’s four recipients two questions. First, we reached out to our Lifetime Contribution recipient Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens, C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d).
Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent: How did you start your work with Veterans, and what inspired you?
Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens , C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d): I was born in the Netherlands during World War II and immigrated to Canada. Respect and admiration of Veterans were instilled in me at a young age. It’s likely that this regard and gratitude to Veterans was what caused me to pursue a 38-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Shortly after my retirement from the military, I was contacted by the Royal Canadian Legion to represent them on the Veterans Affairs/Canadian Forces Advisory Council. This six-year process led to the creation of the New Veterans Charter and subsequent legislation, and I was inspired to offer assistance to transitioning members and Veterans.
At the same time that the Legion was doing outreach, several WW2 Veterans in the Saint John, New Brunswick area encouraged me to get involved with the Last Post Fund, as well as the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. It was clear to me then that my mission was to help veterans, so I became the New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island chair of both organizations, and then did the same at the National level.
Four years ago, I became a member of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association, where I continue to serve as a Veterans’ Service Officer and Special Advisor.
Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent: What would you tell someone who is hoping to make a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families?
Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens , C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d): All of us have talents and experience to lend to the most deserving of causes—you can make a difference! While progress may seem slow to some, persistence and dedication to those who have given so much in the military will win the day. The wheels of government move slowly at times, but over time and with individual skills, the cause of Veterans’ well-being cannot be ignored. Veterans deserve the very best of care.
Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent: Congratulations Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens , C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d). The Veterans Ombudsman Commendation presentations are taking place on October 23, 2017.
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