From 101-year-old Veteran to freshly seasoned athlete – excitement builds for Legionnaires
OTTAWA, ON, 22 September 2017 – As the official partner organization representing Veterans at this year’s Invictus Games, the Royal Canadian Legion is proud to support all of Canada’s Veteran athletes. We are thankful for their service and wish Team Canada great success at the 2017 Games.
“These games will help our injured Veteran athletes recover both physically and mentally,” says David Flannigan, Dominion President. “Their purpose directly aligns with that of the Legion and helps us all raise awareness and advocate on behalf of our Veterans.”
Attending the opening ceremonies and some events to cheer on his younger comrades will be 101-year-old Norman Baker, a 57-year member of the Maple Leaf-Swansea Legion in Toronto. A veteran of several conflicts, a decorated sergeant and an award-winning gardener, Baker is getting ready for the action.
“I’m very excited,” he says. “The Invictus Games gave Veterans something to work towards, a goal to reach and a means of rehabilitation - it’s something to be proud of for themselves and to serve our country for a second time. They need all the accolades and support we can give them and I wanted to be part of it,” says Baker.
In the weeks leading up to the event, over a dozen Legion branches across the country participated in the Invictus Games National Flag Tour, with many members taking part in emotional ceremonies, motorcycle rides and meeting with athletes.
Legionnaire Scott Atkinson of Kanata is one of those athletes, having completed months of training and even a recent return to rehab related to PTSD, to be at these games. He’s competing in cycling and archery events and credits the team around him for helping him through.
“When everything happened, the team was there for me, they’ve been one hundred percent behind me,” he says. “The whole team is raring to go. The excitement has overwhelmed a lot of people, we’ve all started going wild, this is real.”
In parallel with the Games is the opportunity to highlight some of the stark realities facing Canada’s Veterans. Among them are issues surrounding life-long financial security for those who are ill or injured, homelessness, mental health, and the effects of mefloquine – an anti-malarial drug. The Legion provides immediate and long-term supports and/or representation at all stages of the disability claims process in all of these areas at no charge to Veterans, and maintains a strong independent national voice as a staunch advocate for Veterans’ needs.
Dominion President David Flannigan, Grand President Larry Murray, Dominion Secretary and Executive Director Brad White and additional members of the leadership team will be available for interviews on a variety of topics related to Veterans and their well-being, throughout the games in Toronto.
The Royal Canadian Legion will have a daily presence at the Games at an information table located at the Friends and Family area in the Sheraton Hotel, 123 Queen St. W.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With more than 275,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: PublicRelations@Legion.ca