Singer Batten, Courtenay pub keep soldiering on

Live music and a silent auction are proving to a be great combination at the Whistle Stop Neighbourhood Pub.

KAREN-LEE BATTEN

Live music and a silent auction are proving to a be great combination at the Whistle Stop Neighbourhood Pub.The Whistle Stop has been supporting the Soldier On Fund for three years, and this year’s fundraising weekend has brought the pub’s contribution very close to the $20,000 mark.The Whistle Stop raised more than $5,000 for Soldier On with live music and a silent auction Nov. 18 and 19.This year’s featured performer was three-time BC Country Music Association award-winner Karen Lee Batten.”It’s nice that people of her status will take time off to come and help us with a fundraiser she highly regards,” said pub owner Barry Van Dusen. “We’ve been very fortunate to get some well-known recording artists to take a weekend out of their life and spend it here with us to raise money.”Soldier On provides resources and opportunities for serving and retired Canadian Forces personnel with a permanent or chronic illness or injury to actively participate in physical, recreational or sporting activities.Since late 2007, the Soldier On Fund has been providing financial grants to injured or ill Canadian Forces personnel or former personnel to purchase adaptive sports equipment and assistive devices, to subsidize the expenses of fitness or sport-related activity that directly contributes to enhancing or maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, and to subsidize the expenses of high-performance training for beneficiaries who aspire to compete at a national or international level.It’s a great fit for Van Dusen.”I was in the Air Force 26 and a half years, and when I was in the military, a lot of people did things for us or helped us here and there,” he said. “For me, this is a different way to give back to the servicemen and women coming back with missing limbs or in need of help to rehabilitate them to and bring them back into society.”Going into the weekend, Van Dusen was confident that additional support from 19 Wing Comox was going to help make this year’s Soldier On a success.”We’re getting a lot of support from the base for this one here, and that’s definitely going to help us raise more money,” he said. “The base commander and his staff have helped us a lot, and that will definitely help us.”

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