2015 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation Recipients Announced: Lt.-Gen. the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd) and Capt. Ray Kokkonen (Ret’d)

November 3, 2015

Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent will present today the 2015 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation to Lt.-Gen. the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd) and Capt. Raimo (Ray) Kokkonen (Ret’d) for their exceptional contribution to the well-being of Veterans and their families.

The Veterans Ombudsman Commendation is awarded yearly in recognition of the efforts of individuals and groups who exemplify exceptional leadership and advocacy on behalf of Veterans and their families, promote their fair treatment, and work to bring about change to ensure they have the support they need and deserve.

“Lt.-Gen. the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd) and Capt. Ray Kokkonen (Ret’d) exemplify the criteria of the Commendation,” said Mr. Parent. “It is an honour for me to present them their awards today before their nominators, my Advisory Council and members of my team at the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman.”

“Each year we receive many nominations for the Commendation. This is an inspiration to me and my team and attests to the dedication to Veterans and their families that is exemplified in the work of each and every individual and organization nominated. It is not easy to choose the yearly recipients from so many worthy nominations, but with the help of my Advisory Council, we do our best.”

Lt.-Gen. the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd) is a well-known retired Canadian Senator, Army Lieutenant-General and a devoted advocate for Veterans and their families. He has spoken out for improvements to the New Veterans Charter and other issues, and his openness on Operational Stress Injuries has helped educate many about mental illness and the importance of seeking help. He currently dedicates his time to increasing Canadians’ awareness of Veterans’ issues and their quality of life. His work and dedication have been recognized by many as inspirational and life-changing.

Capt. Raimo (Ray) Kokkonen (Ret’d) is a founding member of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and has served as its president for the past six years. Both in this role and behind the scenes, he helps Veterans access the support they need and is a tireless advocate for improvements to the New Veterans Charter so that current and future Veterans and their families are properly supported. As one of the founding members of the Assembly of Veterans Organizations, he has recently been working towards harmony within the Veterans’ community to improve conditions for all.

To learn more about the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation and prior recipients, visit: http://ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-us/ombudsman/commendation.

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