By Richard Lawrence
If you have “… no home to go to – come here. The staff spoil us. In fact, it’s a little embarrassing you know”. These are the opening remarks of Mr.Gerald Bowen, a resident at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (the Perley), during the reception mounted by the Ottawa Service Attachés Association (OSAA) at the Perley last night. OSAA is an association of the Defence Attachés from around the world and posted to Ottawa and who have taken the Perley under their wing to raise money and to try and make life better for the veterans served by the Perley.
This year OSAA has worked 5 months to gather 43 sponsors, mostly defence contractors, who donated $33,549.43, money which, with the personal contributions from the Gala Thursday night, is enough to completely renovate the dining facilities at the Perley. This is the biggest fundraising event ever undertaken by OSAA and will continue under the auspices of Project Perley.
The reception was well attended by military, diplomatic envoys (Ambassador’s from Korea and Latvia at least), defence attachés, sponsors, veterans from the Perley, and many veterans’ family members. There were addresses to the reception from Col Thad Hunkins, Defence Attaché from the United States of America and representing OSAA, Mr. Akos Hoffer, CEO of the Perley, and Mr. Ron Buck, Chair of the Board of Directors. However, it was Mr. Bowen’s speech from his wheelchair that seemed to touch the crowd most. “We’re happy here because of you.” he stated. “I don’t think there would be any other place on this earth where we can be as well treated as we can here at the Perley. They’re so good to us”.
Before the big cheque was revealed, there was also a presentation to Ms. Louise Mercier for her fundraising efforts and assistance over the years. The Governor-General was unable to attend but sent a note to OSAA hoping their actions will “inspire others to do the same”. OSAA had this note framed along with the Angel Heart Award noting that Ms. Mercier was “a best friend to OSAA and Canada’s military”.
After this presentation, the cheque was unveiled for $33549.43 and the reception resumed.
For more photos to go http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/clients/osaa/perley/index.html