• John Jantak

Korean War and D-Day veterans encouraged to apply for medals honouring their service


PHOTO COURTESY GUY BLACK

Ambassador for Peace Medal – Republic of Korea

Guy Black, a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist who lives in British Columbia is encouraging veterans who were involved in the Korean War and the D-Day campaign in France during World War II to contact him so they can receive medals for their service during both military campaigns.

Black sent an email to The Journal this week to inform our readers that many veterans may not know these medals are still available to honour the service and sacrifice made during both conflicts. His mission for the past five years has been to contact media outlets throughout Canada to let people know these medals are available both to veterans and their families.

Korean War and D-Day medals

The Republic of Korea is presenting its Ambassador for Peace Medal to all Canadian Veterans who participated in the Korean War and its peacekeeping operations between 1950 and 1955. Living veterans or the families of veterans who have passed away may be eligible to receive this special medal from Korea.

The Government of France is awarding its highest medal – the National Order of the Legion of Honour –to all living Canadian veterans who directly helped to liberate their country between June 6 and August 30, 1944. The two medals are issued by their respective governments and there is no cost involved.

PHOTO COURTESY GUY BLACK

National Order of the Legion of Honour – France

Focus on Korean War veterans

“My focus is on the Korean veterans who are the forgotten veterans who fought in the forgotten war,” said Black. “I help them to receive more recognition and more public attention. A lot of veterans do not know these medals are available. They’re getting older so there’s fewer around and their chance to get a medal is running out.

“If someone contacts me, I’ll send them the application. It’s really easy to fill out. The only minor roadblock is that when a person applies for a medal, they need to include a copy of their discharge paper or statement of service. The Korean government needs proof that the person was in the war,” said Black.

600 veterans nominated

Black started his medal campaign about five years ago. “I contacted 220 newspapers across Canada and was able to nominate 600 Canadian veterans for the Korean medal. Just here in BC in the first week I had more than 100 replies. I’m actually finding all the veterans that generally don’t belong to the Royal Canadian Legion or the Korean Veterans Association Canada so they’re outside of the information loop.”

Black said he’s received many received letters and phone messages. Some people have contacted him to say they received their medal. Families of veterans who have passed away could also be eligible to receive the medals if they still have the proper documentation.

Reached at the Ste. Anne’s Hospital, World War II Veteran Wolf (William) Solkin said it was quite possible that some of the residents may very well be eligible for the award. “There are likely quite a few here,” he said of the patients of the 446-bed facility that serves veterans of the Canadian Forces.

Rod Hodgson, President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 115 in Hudson, said three of its legion members have received the Legion of Honour medal from France and one member received the Ambassador of Peace medal from Korea. He also commended Black for his efforts in finding former veterans who participated in those military campaigns.

Volunteerism commendation

A former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) reservist, Black has done veteran volunteer work for at least 20 years – everything from organizing commemorative ceremonies to one-day events at veteran care homes to promoting the medals available to veterans.

He received a commendation from the Minister of Veterans Affairs in 2005 for organizing one of the biggest commemoration events in British Columbia to mark the Korean War.

For more information, veterans and their families can send their requests by mail to Mr. Guy Black, 515 - 95 Moody Street, Port Moody, BC, V3H 0H2 or by email at Korea19501953@yahoo.com. Email correspondence should include the subject ‘Veterans Medals’.

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