2017 Veterans Ombudsman Commendations Recipients

Ottawa, ON - September 14, 2017

Lifetime Contribution: Lieutenant-General Louis Cuppens, C.M.M., C.D. (Ret’d)

Lieutenant General Louis Cuppens was born in Nijmegen in the Netherlands during World War II. Canada so influenced his family that they immigrated to Canada in 1950, and he chose to spend his adult life in the service of Canada as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. After 10 years in the Army, he transferred to the Air Force and rose steadily through its ranks until his retirement in 1998, after 38 years of service, as Deputy-Commander-in-Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. He is past president of the New Brunswick Aerospace and Defence Association, past chair of the Defence Committee of Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, past National President of the Last Post Fund, and has served in various executive positions in the Corps of Commissionaires, as well as serving as the National President of the United Services Institutes.  Mr. Cuppens' lifetime work and dedication to help Veterans has greatly contributed to the betterment of Canada's Veterans.

Individual: Daniel Lafontaine (Ret’d)

Daniel Lafontaine was born in 1964, and grew up in Chelmsford outside Sudbury in Northern Ontario. His father’s mother was Algonquin (Anishnabeg), born in the Baskatong region of Québec; his mother’s grandmother was Innu (Montagnais) from the area of Les Escoumins, Québec; and he is a francophone first-generation Métis in Québec. He is proud to be a Canadian Veteran, and even prouder to be an Indigenous Veteran. In 1983 he enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces and was quickly promoted to the ranks of Corporal, Master Corporal, and then Sergeant. He was deployed on peacekeeping missions with both the United Nations and NATO in Cyprus, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. After he left the Forces in 2003, he found that his biggest challenge in retirement was adapting to civilian life while dealing with PTSD. Each year on National Peacekeeper’s Day (August 9th), he is proud to bring together more than 1,000 Veterans for a Sunset Ceremony to honour Canadian Peacekeepers.

National Organization: Paws Fur Thought

Paws Fur Thought is an initiative that fundraises and matches service dogs with Veterans and First Responders in need. Inspired by his service dog, Thai, Medric Cousineau, a decorated RCAF Captain (Ret’d) who was awarded the Star of Courage, co-founded Paws Fur Thought with Jocelyn Cousineau in 2013.  The Paws Team has a variety of team members from different backgrounds and specialties.  Since its launch, the organization has successfully paired over more than 90 Veterans and First Responders with service dogs.

Local Organization: New Chelsea Society

The New Chelsea Society was founded in 1952 to provide safe, affordable housing for World War II Veterans and their families in the Vancouver area. Today, it is the third largest non-profit housing provider in the BC lower mainland with 1,432 affordable housing units for Veterans, seniors, families and persons with disabilities. For over a decade, the Society has also operated “Winch House” a supportive housing unit for Veterans of the Canadian Military and First Responders, providing them with a safe and comfortable home while undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation in the Vancouver area. Over the years, Winch House has provided accommodation to dozens of Veterans. 

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