Group focuses on the comfort of Cape Breton veterans
Sharon Montgomery-Dupe – Cape Breton Post
Veterans Comfort Fund members Sandra Wilneff (left), Neil McKinnon (right) and his wife Selena, pass out Christmas presents to veterans Tom Hutchinson of New Waterford and Christine Aucoin of Reserve Mines, at Taigh Na Mara in Glace Bay.
GLACE BAY — A group formed more than 30 years ago is still all about the comfort of the veterans.
Neil McKinnon of New Waterford, president of the Cape Breton Veterans Comfort Fund, has been travelling around the island to hand-deliver Christmas presents to veterans including those at Taigh Na Mara in Glace Bay.
McKinnon said this comfort fund project — which sees the 244 veterans across Cape Breton, who are either at their own home or at a veterans home, receive a Christmas present which focuses on comfort.
“They fought for us, now we are making sure we are here for them.”
McKinnon, who is also president of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Association Dominion Command, said the comfort fund was created about 30 years ago by the Royal Canadian Legion in North Sydney.
“Then the Sydney legion came in, then the Army, Navy, Air Force after that.”
Now the fund includes all legions and ANAF units across the island. Regular meetings are held and fundraisers organized.
“We raise funds so we can buy things for the veterans.”
He said money is donated to the veterans’ homes, which includes Harbourview in North Sydney, for summer activities.
“They fought for us, now we are making sure we are here for them.” – Neil McKinnon
“They have lobster boils and take the veterans on trips,” he said. “We even bought a piano for Taigh Na Mara.”
Money is also raised through memorial donations to the comfort fund in memory of veterans.
“We also sell even split tickets and get donations here and there,” he said. “Every cent we raise goes to the veterans. Nothing is taken out for anything, not even expenses. Everything we do, it is all volunteer.”
He said the response they receive from veterans when showing up with the gifts is heart-warming.
This year the gifts included pyjamas for the men and nightgowns for the women.
“You know how happy children are about Santa Claus, well that is just how happy the veterans are when we pass them a gift,” he said.
“It hits you right in the heart.”
(Thank God we have organizations like the Cape Breton Veterans Comfort Fund who with no financial reward carry out such a wonderful gift of giving – CAPER)