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HOMETOWN HEROES: Veterans helping veterans

Ian Campbell is with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94
Ian Campbell is the service officer at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

Ian Campbell may be retired from the Canadian Armed Forces, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to help other veterans where he can.

Campbell can usually be found at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 in Quesnel where he is the service officer and one of the first persons of contact for veterans needing assistance with paperwork with Veterans Affairs or a shoulder to lean on.

“It was always in the back of my mind to serve our country, be it reserves or regular forces, and I guess I still am,” Campbell said.

In 1965, Campbell joined Canada’s Reserve Force in Nanaimo where his family had moved from Burnaby.

He would later join the Regular Force and travel to oversea conflicts and peacekeeping missions in countries including Germany, Egypt and Rwanda.

After retiring, Campbell moved to Quesnel where he worked with the Air Cadet Squadron for a number of years.

He consistently applied his background as supply technician in trying to secure uniforms and equipment for the Cadet Corps wherever he was based, such as Brandon, Man. and Comox, B.C.

“I decided 40-something years in uniform was long enough, and I turned around and put on a legion uniform, so I’m still wearing a uniform of sorts,” Campbell said.

When Campbell first approached the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94, he reiterated how he wanted to help veterans and it was decided he would be the perfect fit for service officer.

He not only guides veterans in the right direction with Veterans Affairs but lends a listening ear.

“Some of them just want to talk, and I’m here for them,” Campbell said. “I’m a good listener, although solving problems not so much because that’s what the professionals at Veterans Affairs are supposed to be doing for us.”

While Campbell said he has been told he has PTSD, he maintains he feels fine.

He is immensely thankful to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 and wishes more veterans would get involved, especially younger ones.

“There are 20-year-old veterans wandering around,” said president Doug Carey. “They don’t consider themselves veterans, the average Canadian doesn’t consider them as veterans, but they are veterans.”

Campbell also agrees.

He is coordinating Remembrance Day services in Quesnel that will include a parade march to the Cenotaph and asks anyone interested in volunteering on Nov. 11 or beyond to contact them.

“Things can be done in the branch if you want to volunteer for our veterans.”

Read More: Incoming Quesnel mayor receives poppy from Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94

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