A Gift for #RemembranceDay @guitars4VETSCan @daddariocanada @GHOperaHouse

Sgt. Ted Hudson (ret.) Coming as it would less than a week before Remembrance Day, Gravenhurst Opera House curator Krista Storey wondered if there might be a way to honour local veterans at our Six String Nation presentation last weekend. One thought was to put local favourite, Guitars for Vets ambassador and Great Big Sea alumnus Séan McCann on the bill but Séan would be out on tour at that moment. Instead, we thought we could contribute directly to the program right there in the community so I called up our perennial supporter, D'Addario Canada, and asked if they might have something to donate to the cause. Without a moment's hesitation, they offered up a brand new Beaver Creek Guitars dreadnought-style guitar complete with a carrying case and an extra set of strings.

Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS Canada)'s program is based on a simple concept: veterans and currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP who suffer with PTSD or other service-related injuries or disabilities will be provided with a new or gently used guitar. They will also be connected with free online lessons and – when and where available – students will have the option of working with a guitar instructor for 10 weeks of free lessons. The goal of Guitars for Vets is to get as many guitars as possible into the hands of wounded veterans to help the healing process. You can learn more about the program in this video.

Again, our timing was not great because the Guitars for Vets folks were busy preparing for today's big event in Ottawa with Séan, Joel Plaskett, Sarah Harmer and Jeremy Fisher so there would be no one on hand to receive our contribution at the show. But Ret. Sgt. Ted Hudson C.D. (pictured) was there in full colours to receive the guitar and guide it to its ultimate purpose. Ted was born in Gravenhurst and joined the Armed Forces in Canada's centennial year, 1967. He was first posted to Soest, Germany and Petawawa, ON with the Royal Canadian Regiment and, later, the Airborne Regiment. With the Special Service Force Battle School he served as an instructor for 5 years with a tour of the Middle East, Cyprus and many other areas of deployment. He retired with the rank of Sergeant after serving for 18 years.

The presence of the shoulder tile and cap badges of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (founded 1914) and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (founded 1795!) on Voyageur's strap are a regular reminder of the contributions of Canadian service men and women who are part of the story of Canada. But on Remembrance Day especially we are reminded of the connections this project has had to members of the Canadian Armed Services - including Lt. Col Susan Beharriel, Capt. Casey Balden, Pt. Don Stewart and all the veterans and serving members we met and photographed at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto and we thank all of them again for their service and sacrifice.

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