The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation is an annual award, recognizing individuals, primarily veterans, for outstanding service to the country and their respective communities.
This year, three Comox residents were among the recipients.
Terence Chester, James “Stocky” Edwards and Ted Gibbon were among the 11 Vancouver Islanders to receive the honour last month.
To date, 137 British Columbians have received the award, which was created in 2001.
“The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation is awarded to individuals who have contributed to the care and well-being of veterans or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of veterans,” said Audrey Jaques, media relations officer for Veterans Affairs Canada.
Minister of Veteran Affairs Julian Fantino presented the commendations at a ceremony in Victoria.
“It is a privilege to recognize the selfless efforts of these dedicated individuals who have generously given of their time and energy to support and care for our Veterans,” Fantino said, in a press release. “Their exemplary contributions are indicative of the enormous respect and gratitude shared by all Canadians for the men and women who have served in uniform.”
Chester’s career with the Royal Canadian Air Force spanned 42 years, accumulating in excess of 10,000 flying hours and serving multi-command tours. He retired with the rank of colonel.
Chester remains active in flying and provides flight instruction to air cadets during the summer months. He is a director at the Comox Air Force Museum, and a board member of several community associations
Edwards is one of Canada’s greatest living fighter pilots and a decorated veteran of the Second World War. This commendation is the latest in a long list of awards for Edwards, a list that includes the Order of Canada (2004), induction into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (2013) and the French Legion of Honour Medal earlier this year.
Edwards continues his involvement with the air cadets program and donates a copy of his book, Kittyhawk Pilot, to the top cadet every year.
He is also a regular guest speaker at public schools in the Comox Valley, offering young students a tangible, direct connection with a war that occurred before their parents were born.
Gibbon served as a Royal Canadian Navy aviator, is a member of 888 (Komox) wing of the Air Force Association and is dedicated to enhancing the heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 2007, he spearheaded a heritage project to commemorate those killed in the 1952 crash of a Lancaster bomber in Comox.
– with files from Veterans Affairs Canada