RCAF, Navy aviators honoured for service to veterans

News Article / October 3, 2014

By Ruthanne Urquhart

Canadian pilots Terence Chester and James Francis “Stocky” Edwards, from Comox, British Columbia, and Ted Gibbon, from Courtney, British Columbia, have received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

In a September 12, 2014, ceremony in Victoria, British Columbia, Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino presented 11 citizens of that province with the commendation, which recognizes contributions made to the care and well-being of veterans, or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices, and achievements of veterans.

“It is a privilege to recognize the selfless efforts of these dedicated individuals who have generously given of their time and energy to support and care for our veterans,” Minister Fantino said of the 11 recipients. “Their exemplary contributions are indicative of the enormous respect and gratitude shared by all Canadians for the men and women who have served in uniform.”

The eight other recipients gathered at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Chief’ & Petty Officers’ Mess included Peter Scot Betcher, from Nanaimo; Peter Godwin Chance, from Sidney; Padre Arthur Donald Lee, from Sooke; James Patrick MacMillan-Murphy and Joan O. Thomas, from Victoria; Donald Richard McDonald, from Quadra Island; Donald Thomas, from East Sooke; and Sharle Edward Widenmaier, from Saanichton.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations to these dedicated British Columbians for their commitment to Canada's veterans,” said James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister Responsible for British Columbia. “They are most deserving of this recognition and I applaud them for their efforts to better the lives of our men and women who have served in uniform.”

Terence Chester, CD

Mr. Chester’s career in the Royal Canadian Air Force spanned 42 years and involved some 10,000 flying hours and multi-command tours. He retired at the rank of colonel.

In 2011, He was elected national president of the Air Force Association of Canada (AFAC). As president, he is also the chair of AFAC’s Board of Directors. The 10 members of the board set the policies and oversee the operation of the organization. Under Mr. Chester’s leadership, the AFAC worked in tandem with Veterans Affairs Canada to achieve the creation of the Bomber Command Memorial in London, United Kingdom, and the creation of the Bomber Command Bar decoration.

Mr. Chester continues to fly and, during the summer months, he provides flight instruction to air cadets. He is a director of the Comox Air Force Museum and a board member of several community associations.

James Francis “Stocky” Edwards CM, DFC, DFM, CD

Stocky Edwards, a decorated veteran of the Second World War, is one of Canada’s greatest living fighter pilots. He holds the Distinguished Flying Medal and twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and is a member of 888 (Komox) Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada.

His experiences are well documented in three books. He regularly speaks to cadets at the Regional Gliding School (Pacific) in Comox, British Columbia, about leadership, ethics, patriotism, and morale, and has presented glider pilot wings to dozens of air cadets at the school.

Mr. Edwards has also visited many public schools in the Comox Valley to speak to school children. He was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004, was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in May 2013, and received the French Legion of Honour Medal at the rank of Knight in 2014.

Ted Gibbon OMM, CD

Ted Gibbon served as a Royal Canadian Navy aviator. He is a member of 888 (Komox) Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada and is dedicated to enhancing the heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He has held a number of executive positions within the organization, including second vice-president, first vice-president and wing president. In 2004, he was selected to chair a committee that examined the feasibility and affordability of expanding the Wing’s building to better accommodate the organization’s growing membership.

In 2007, Mr. Gibbon took the lead in initiating and developing a heritage project to commemorate those killed in the crash of a Lancaster bomber in Comox in 1952. He actively volunteers as the wing’s poppy service coordinator when memorial or celebration-of-life services are held for a deceased member.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation

The wording of the commendation is as follows:

Whereas Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, did authorize the creation of a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation and the Insignia thereunto pertaining to be presented to those Veterans and others who, in an exemplary way, have contributed either to the care and well-being of Veterans or to the remembrance of the sacrifices and achievements of Canadians in armed conflict;

And whereas [ recipient’s name ]

has made such exemplary contributions by generously giving of himself and so both benefitting veterans and making manifest the principle that Canada's obligation to all who have served in the cause of  Peace and Freedom must not be forgotten.

This same Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation and Insignia are hereby granted; Given under my hand in [ location, date ].

Hon. Julian Fantino, P.C., M.P.

Quick Facts

The Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation was created in 2001 by warrant of the Governor General and with the approval of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Commendation is intended primarily for veterans but may be awarded to non-veterans in recognition of their service to veterans and their families.

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