There are a lot of veterans in Weyburn and area, and while there is a lot of support for the local veterans, even more support is offered from the Royal Canadian Legion Weyburn branch.
“Veterans can still come here to get support started for them,” said Charles (Ford) Thornhill, the new branch services officer for the Weyburn Legion.
“I help veterans fill out the forms, and get things starting by sending those forms to our command server worker. I am here for all veterans,” said Thornhill.
Charles was hired by the Legion in February as their new secretary and manger. The new title of branch services officer was just recently approved.
As a veteran himself, Thornhill is very passionate about protecting veteran rights and benefits. He even attended a provincial conference, attended by Dominion Command Direction of the Legion, regarding recent changes to veteran benefits by the federal government.
“It wasn’t just strictly Legion members and the DCD, we had everyone there that was connected with veterans,” said Thornhill. The provincial meeting was held in both Regina and Saskatoon at the same time, through video conferencing.
Thornhill has a number of personal concerns regarding the changes to veteran benefits.
“One of the concerns I have is how the government is forcing veterans into categories,” said Thornhill. “We have categories for the ‘one ones’ and the ‘new ones’, but I’m in the middle. My point of view is that we are all veterans, we all wore our uniforms, we all did military service and in some capacity or another, we all served Canada.”
“Some of the veterans got hurt, some didn’t. Some of the hurts you can see, others you can not see. Not everything is so clean and pressed, and yet the veterans were the first ones to sign a piece of paper and went out to do what we were asked to do,” said Thornhill.
The three categories of veterans is seen as the government minimizing their responsibilities, in some areas for groups, said Thornhill. “As example, people in the ‘old’ group, they might suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, but it wasn’t around at that time so they don’t qualify for anything.”
“The other concern I have as a veteran is how it appears that veterans are being pushed further and further to the back.”
He addressed some of the secrecy behind what veterans were asked to do during the war. “For example, I was a radiation monitor, I walked into radiation,” said Thornhill. “It was one of my secondary duties in uniform. In addition to radiation attacks or radiation leaks, my job as an entry monitor was that I was the first person to put on all that stuff and read for radiation.”
“Normal people don’t do these sort of things,” added Thornhill, noting that was just one example of many.
Any veteran who wants more information on the Legion, or the services they provide, are welcome to the Royal Canadian Legion Weyburn branch.