While kids and parents prep for a big candy score on Halloween, a pair of veterans from the Third Canadian Army Veteran’s (CAV) Motorcycle unit in Saskatoon were spreading a little red amongst all the black.
“We’re a bunch of veterans who like to ride motorcycles, be out in the community and have fun. What we find is there aren’t a lot of groups where veterans can meet others and socialize and gain a sense of belonging,” said James ‘Doc’ Beaulieu, a Canadian serviceman who traveled the world with the Canadian Light Infantry and the United Nations.
Stationed at the Sobey’s grocery store in Stonebridge, Beaulieu alongside service-woman Shelley Sadoway were up nice and early, greeting shoppers as they came in, exchanging bank notes for poppies.
For Beaulieu every year the number of poppies he sees worn in the city, gives him a sense of pride and reminds him that his sacrifices and the sacrifices of millions of Canadian veterans was worth it.
“A lot of veterans, we’re happy that any civilian is willing to wear a poppy,” he said. “A lot of veterans, they come back and they feel a little lost and forgotten and the poppy is a reminder that maybe what you did over there wasn’t a waste of time.”
Volunteering with the poppy campaign in Saskatoon is Beaulieu’s chance to once again serve his country, and help a new generation of veterans returning home from Afghanistan.
Last year, he saw first-hand the remarkable work done through the poppy campaign after the Legion in Saskatoon bought a service van to help veterans get around the city.
“They phone in when they need a ride,” Beaulieu said. “A lot of these guys can’t get around and it’s a very important service we provide for our veterans – they served our country the least we can do is get them down to the store.”
Money collected through the poppy campaign also funds Cadet Corps across Canada.
The Third CAV unit has a special patch on their motorcycle vests, a patch that reads ‘Groningen’ after the Second World War Battle of Groningen, where Canadian forces thumped a German invasion of The Netherlands in the final months of the war.
The poppy campaign continues through to Nov. 10. For a full list of events in your neighbourhood contact the Nutana Legion Branch at 306-477-6774.