How does it make you feel to have received the Veterans Ombudsman Commendation?
Well I feel humbled by this award from the veteran ombudsman committee, I guess being so involved over the last ten years creating housing and with a ranch coming on board for veterans and their families and their spouses. To be able to know that I can help make a difference in their lives, basically receiving this award tells me a little bit that perhaps I made some change and that I’m not here to give up.
What inspires your effort to support veterans and their families?
Well it goes back to Captain Trevor Green when I watched the documentary “Peace Warrior” and when I saw Trevor so badly injured in Afghanistan and when I was seeing the need that he had when he was injured both mentally, with an axe to his head, and the emotional trauma for his family because often the families are also struggling with this, that I figured I needed to find proper housing to meet his needs so I called an Honour House in honour of our Canadian forces and this house is up and running and I was so inspired by the mission of making sure that you just never give up and to create the best housing you can to help that they can integrate back into the community, hence now the house is up and running its four years in operation and I’ve had just about 4,000 night stays from veterans across Canada.
What is the most rewarding aspect of the work that you do on behalf of veterans and their families?
Wow… it’s really being on a mission to keep going to be able to support our men and women who give virtually each and every day and in the province of British Columbia, and throughout Canada, I have to say that with Honour House, reaching our men and women who give unconditionally; may it be abroad or serving locally, natural disasters, many of them I know their family struggle form time to time and my mission being able to support them and to not give up until I’m able to reach each and every person across this country that needs help and I have to say we’ve had over 4,000 night stays since the House is open four years ago and if I can say of any recipient, our mission isn’t over until we know we’ve helped each and every man and woman who served on the Canadian Forces to thank them for what they do because they give unconditionally.
What advice would you give to others who would like to dedicate their time to helping veterans?
Really to give unconditionally because the men and women who serve our country, as reservists many of them, they work by day and they serve by night and on weekends and when they’re called up, they again unconditionally serve abroad and within our community and all I can say is to the recipients very fortunate to receive this award and to all of us, our mission isn’t over until we are able to reach each and every one of our veterans who may need the help that they so much deserve and their families.
Thank you, Mr. De Genova!