Thirteen people from B.C. were honoured for their commitment and dedication to veterans, and one of them was Warren Byrnell from Pitt Meadows.
"There were a number of recipients but the focus was on my dad," said Rod Byrnell, oldest of four Byrnell children, all of whom attended the soiree.
"The minister has met my dad a couple of times and singled him out and made him feel really special," the proud son said about his dad and Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs.
"There were a lot of very deserving people there," he said.
Warren Byrnell is a veteran of the Korean War. Since 1984, he has been a member of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada (KVA), having served as the past secretary and director for the Pacific Region.
Warren is the founding member and president of KVA Unit 69 in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. He also served as president of KVA Unit 14 in Vancouver. He assists veterans of the Korean War with their disability and pension claims through Veterans Affairs Canada.
"He's pretty dedicated to all of this, he always has been.
He's determined that the Korean War does not become the forgotten war. He is one of many who work towards that. He's
still sharp at remembering all the dates and names and places. I don't know how he does it. He doesn't seem to slow down," said Rod.
Every year, he speaks with students at Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam about his wartime experiences. Warren is also involved with commemorative displays at various events throughout the Lower Mainland, including the Korean War 50th anniversary display at Coquitlam Centre Mall in 2003, the Veterans' Week event at The ACT in Maple Ridge in 2007, and the B.C. Day 150 Salute to Veterans in Burnaby.
In 2010, Warren and his team proposed to the City of Pitt Meadows that the Korean city of Gapyeong-gun should be its sister city. They were successful, and the partnership was officially designated in 2011.
Through the KVA, Warren was able to have cenotaphs commemorating the Korean War erected in Maple Ridge and in Pitt Meadows.
He is currently a member of Branch 88 of the Royal Canadian Legion and previously served as president of Branch 251.
Blaney presented the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation at a ceremony in Vancouver.
"Today, our Government is proud to recognize a number of outstanding individuals who devote their lives to honouring the sacrifices and contributions of our nation's heroes," said Blaney.
"These are men and women who, through their selfless dedication, have had a positive impact on the lives of veterans and in celebrating the incredible achievements of our veterans."
In April 2001 the Queen approved the design of a special bar to be worn with decorations.
The commendation will 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."
The commendation is intended primarily for veterans, but may also be awarded to non-veterans.
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, and on occasions when it is appropriate for medals to be worn.
The lapel pin may be worn at any time on civilian dress.
To date, more than 700 individuals have received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.
Commendations were also given to the follow people: Horace "Gerry" Gerrard, Victoria, Harry Glowachuk, Surrey, John Goheen, Port Coquitlam, Neil Jarvie, Trail, Richard Lundin, Osoyoos, Valerie MacGregor, North Vancouver, Donald Mann, Saanichton, Jennifer McFarlane, Victoria, Lee Naylor, Hope, Janet Robertson, Quesnel, Patricia Slark, Burnaby, and Ronald Webber, Courtenay.
@ Copyright 2013