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Minister Of Defence Visits Br 60’S JIM WARFORD at Joseph Brant Hospital
(By Bob Ankrett, Chair: Government Liaison)
On Thursday March 14th I was fortunate to assist in the visit to Burlington of the National Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan. His first visit was to 7 South in Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. The purpose of that visit was to thank a Juno Beach D-Day veteran, Jim Warford. Jim was and is a very active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 60, Burlington. All the present and past Mayors will tell you of how Jim is always there when needed. From the planting of the tree at St. Luke’s Church with the Dutch Royal Family to the Vimy Oaks Ceremony or Remembrance Day and on to the Oath of Allegiance taken by new Canadians are only a few of the dozen or more events over the past two years.
Together with other Burlington citizens Jim was to go back to Juno this June with his grandson, James, for the 75th anniversary. Sadly this may not be possible. Minister Sajjan and our very own M.P. and Minister, Karina Gould, heard about his situation. They both mentioned the fact that without people like Jim Warford there may not have been a Canada we all love today. The next thing I knew we had set up a visit with the Ministers at the hospital with Jim and 8 to 10 members of his family.
It was quite a moving scene as Defence Minister Sajjan with Karina Gould at his side spoke to Jim about his life during and after the War. Jim was presented with an award from the Canadian Government for his service. At this point everyone wanted a photo of the event mostly with Jim and the Minister of Defence. I asked the Ministers if they could sign the published book that had been put together by James, his grandson. Each Minister took their time and wrote something to Jim and his family in that book. I could not see what was written but I could only imagine after watching the faces of the family as they each read the comments.
This wasn’t just an event of a Minister visiting a Veteran during a busy schedule. I was not rushed. It was respectful and kind. It was a veteran of Bosnia and Afghanistan knowin g in his heart what this man in a hospital bed had given to his country and why he did it.
In this modern world of instant feedback regarding bad things happening, not just in our own country but all over the world, we sometimes forget the good things we can do for each other. The people in that room on the morning of Thursday March 14th felt a little better about us all.