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Honouring our war veterans

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Following the passing of Bill 200 amending the Municipal Assessment Act, Special Envoy for Military Affairs Jon Reyes, along with Swan River MLA Rick Wowchuk, visited World War 2 veterans in Swan River to present with special honours for their service.
Reyes and Wowchuk visited Keith Fulford and Bill Brooks, who both reside in the Swan Valley Lodge, as well as Kaz Nowak, who still resides at his home in Swan River with his wife of 68 years, Bernice.
They were all presented with a letter of recognition, a certificate and a challenge coin, which is a military tradition that historically was presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.
“We owe so much to our war veterans because they’re our heroes,” said Wowchuk. “They’ve given us the life that we have now in this country.
“Jon has been doing an absolute superb job in his outreach and getting out to these communities and being able to recognize (these veterans). I saw the look on their faces and they were thrilled that he had the opportunity to stop in and recognize them with a certificate, a letter of recognition and that challenge coin.”
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Reyes has tried to reach out to all of the Royal Canadian Legions and Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans (ANAVETS), and over the summer is trying to engage and visit as many locations as possible to find out how they are doing. He recognizes the important role of a legion in a small town, as they are the hub and meeting centre for many communities.
“Our veterans have made an invaluable contribution to society and we recognize and honour their sacrifice,” said Reyes.
One way the provincial government is doing that is through the amendment of the Municipal Assessment Act, which exempts organizations across the province such as the Royal Canadian Legion and the ANAVETS the same property tax exemptions and local improvement levies that they currently have in Winnipeg.
By harmonizing property tax exemptions, veterans’ organizations will have an extra $96,000 a year to put towards supporting veterans.
“Our Progressive Conservative government understands the significance of preserving these important hubs,” said Wowchuk. “Providing tax relief to Veterans’ Associations is another way we can give back and show our appreciation to veterans while helping the Manitoba Legion and ANAVET organizations.
The Manitoba government has also provided more than $50,000 in grants to boost the Military Memorial Conservation fund to $100,000 annually for projects across Manitoba.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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