Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation to Dave Thomson

On May 11, the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, will present the 2009 Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation to ten citizens of Ontario.

The Commendation is presented to individuals who have contributed to the care and well-being of Veterans and to the remembrance of their contributions, sacrifices and achievements.

The recipients on May 11th are:

Ray Cameron, Scarborough
Michael Comeau, Bradford
Stephen Cooper, Burlington
John Hare, Oro Station
Leslie Kemp, Oshawa
James Knox, Holland’s Landing
Allan MacIsaac, Pickering
William McDonald, Toronto
Dave Thomson, St. George
Jan Van Der Rassel, Corbeil

Some background on the Commendation:

Since serving in uniform, many of Canada’s Veterans continue to provide outstanding service to their country, their communities and their fellow Veterans. To formally recognize the contributions of these outstanding Canadians, the Governor General authorized the creation of the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

The Commendation is awarded annually to individuals who have contributed in an exemplary manner to the care and well-being of Veterans or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of Veterans.

The Commendation is intended primarily for Veterans, but may be awarded to non-Veterans.

In April, 2001 Her Majesty the Queen approved the design of a special bar to be worn with decorations to be known as the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

The Governor General has issued a Warrant creating this award, and the governing policies call for it to be “…awarded to individuals who have performed commendable service to the Veteran community and /or individuals who represent commendable role models for their fellow Veterans.”

Insignia and Wear

The Commendation consists of a certificate, a lapel pin for civilian wear and a bar for wear with decorations. The design is a gold maple leaf resting on a red poppy, a flower long associated with the sacrifices of war, with the Royal Crown on the top of the pin.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation is worn below official decorations on its gold bar. It can be worn on Veterans’ blazers, formal wear etc. on occasions when it is appropriate for medals to be worn. The lapel pin may be worn at any time on civilian dress.

The SDHS extends congratulations to Dave Thomson and all of the other recipients of this commendation.

Here is the text of the Commendation for Dave Thomson:

Dave Thomson
St. George, Ontario

Mr. Thomson is an auto parts dealer with a soft spot for Veterans. In 2006, while browsing on eBay for items for his auto parts business, he discovered a First World War medal of a soldier from a nearby town. Mr. Thomson bought the medal and turned it over to his town museum.

Since then, Mr. Thomson spends much of his spare time surfing the Internet trying to locate other Canadian service medals which he, in turn, returns to family members, museums, or a Veterans’ organization should the family members not be found. To date, Mr. Thomson has successfully returned the medals of close to 250 Canadian Veterans to families or communities.

He has bid and paid for medals out of his own pocket to ensure their safe return to family. In many newspaper articles, he has asked that people contact him should they come across medals for sale on the Internet.

He also encourages people to donate their bids to help him win auctions and return the medals to family. When he locates a Canadian military medal up for sale on the on-line auction, Mr. Thomson turns to the digitized records of Veterans Affairs, Library and Archives of Canada and gets help from a North Bay Ontario genealogist and local media to locate the soldier’s descendants or hometown.