The Veterans Memorial Gardens and Interpretive Centre in Grande Prairie added some new features including what is soon to be a donor wall, an Afghanistan War Memorial Plaque, and a Korean War Memorial commemorating a local who fought in the battle of Kapyong.
Jeremy Hall spoke at the grand opening and works with project founder Renee Charbonneau to raise awareness and funds for the venue. He says none of this could’ve happened without the community support.
“That support was prevalent today. We had members from our ANAVETS community, we had our cadets, members of the Veterans Motorcycle Club, two of which served during the War in Afghanistan. There are so many people who have supported Renee’s vision for this place. It really is amazing to see what it looks like today.”
“To ensure that all generations of people that don’t have a vast knowledge of the sacrifices made by our veterans and our serving members today can educate themselves. We have school groups and others coming through here so they can understand and learn that there are some heroes in our community. Hopefully those types of heroes that they can look up to and understand, while at the same time reflect on the sacrifice given,” he says.
As the venue continues to expand, Hall explains it’s important that people spread the word.
“It’s imperative for people to know that this place exists. I think that anyone who takes the time and makes the effort to come down here will be absolutely staggered by what they see and the things that they read,” Hall says.
As much as it is important for the general public to have a place to go, Hall states it’s arguably just as crucial for living veterans too.
“They can come here and they can remember. It just gives them more camaraderie and fellowship with their fellow veterans and currently serving members. There are a lot of mental health issues that can come up from their experiences. It gives them that brotherhood and sisterhood to be able to move forward and try to help each other,” he adds.
Efforts are also ongoing to raise $30,000 for an Indigenous War Memorial, which they hope to add to the venue in the future. The Veterans Memorial Gardens and Interpretive Centre is located at 10121 93 Street in Grande Prairie.