From left: Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne; Valda Stefani, project research; and Ken Griffith, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Banch 49 present two banners that will hang along Highway 19A between McMillan and McVickers Streets. The banner on the left commemorates Edmund Campbell Dunn (First World War). On the right, the banner commemorates Verity Everst (Second World War). (Mandy Moraes photo)

City Parksville to honour veterans with commemorative banners

Mayor: ‘It is important we remember and recognize the ultimate sacrifice made’

The City of Parksville will hang a series of banners honouring veterans.

Beginning Oct. 13 and through the month of November, commemorative banners to honour local veterans who gave their lives will be displayed along Highway 19A between McMillan and McVickers Streets.

Earlier this year, Parksville council approved the veteran banner program to honour the veterans whose names are listed on the Parksville Cenotaph. There are 60 names from both the First and Second World Wars, and through extensive research, city staff obtained images and information for 31 veterans.

“As a community, it is important we remember and recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by our veterans. The city is extremely proud of this project and honoured to launch this ongoing memorial banner project. As residents drive along Highway 19A, we hope they will take a moment to reflect on the significance,” said Mayor Ed Mayne in a release.

READ MORE: Metis veterans get long-awaited recognition ahead of Remembrance Day

Research for the project began in April, and although it has presented some incredible findings, it also posed many challenges.

Researcher Valda Stefani was pleased to pursue the veterans’ stories even though worldwide archives were closed for months due to the pandemic. Stefani established relationships with military museums, with other researchers, and conducted interviews to ensure that they could put faces to as many names as possible. Many of the local young men who enlisted, especially in the First World War, had recently arrived from the United Kingdom and Australia.

Many were too young to have started families, adding to the challenge of finding photographs. Images were received from archives in England, Ireland, Parksville Museum and Archives, personal collections and other sources.

READ MORE: Parksville asks for help identifying veterans for special banner project

Many residents have shared personal stories and valuable information about family members, which was otherwise unobtainable through archives or museums.

During the next year research will continue and as the program evolves photographs and stories will be shared on the city website.

The search for information will continue, and if anyone can offer assistance, they are asked to contact Deb Tardiff at 250-954-3073, or by email at dtardiff@parksville.ca.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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