The Canadian Army Veterans (CAV) – Sicily Motorcycle Unit will be holding the 5th Annual Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (SD&G) Highway 43 Memorial Ride on July 9th, 2016. The ride will honour our Veterans, and in collaboration with The Royal Canadian Legion – Ontario Command, will raise funds for Operation: Leave the Streets Behind for the ‘Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund’. The fund provides financial assistance for Ontario Veterans to obtain housing, furniture, food and medical care during their time of need.
All riders are welcome to the ride and the $20 registration per rider and $10 per passenger includes the poker run and complimentary snacks along the route. Breakfast is provided by the Iroquois Royal Canadian Legion Branch for a minimal fee.
The ride starts at The Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Iroquois to Cardinal and then to Kemptville. The ride will then follow the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highway 43 to Alexandria, stopping at several Royal Canadian Legion Branches for presentations. It concludes at The Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Morrisburg, for snacks, the announcement of the poker run prizes and distribution of door prizes. All proceeds of the ride including all cash donations go directly to the ‘Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund’.
Breakfast and registration starts at 8:00am and kickstands up at 9:30am. Last year, a total of $13,851 was raised from the ride, the coin collection and more importantly due to the generous support of the community! In the last five years, we have raised over $50 thousand for this initiative. Local merchants, charities and companies have been very supportive by contributing donations, goods and services annually to this event.
About the CAV
|It began with two military veteran motorcyclists meeting at a charity ride in 2003. These two individuals combined their love of motorcycle riding and at the same time were drawn to continue supporting their community after their military service. The instant bond on meeting at this ride was a confirmation of the brotherhood forged by all soldiers, sailors or airmen during their military experience. It was their interest in “How do you get a bunch of military riders together to enjoy this adventure”, that caused the initial meeting in a garage the day after that initial charity ride and the statement that “I want to get closer to my way of life again”.
It is one of the co-founders years of road riding and observing the good, bad and ugly of organized riding that led to the first constitution and the symbol that is ‘The CAV’, a World War II dispatch rider [from a recruiting poster] and the name/acronym, ‘The CAV’ for ‘Canadian Army Veterans’. In ten years the CAV has grown to a national level riding group, gaining ‘Strength and Honour’ as each kilometre rolls by. The 46 units and thousands of riders, both Veterans and Supporters, riding with the CAV, have helped direct over 5 million dollars nationwide for community needs. The future looks bright and all roads are clear as the mission continues!
Finally, the two co-founders of this great ‘family’ wish it said aloud, that neither felt that what they did was special; they were simply the first to do what thousands of patriotic Canadians, now identified as Riding Veterans or Supporters, would have eventually done. The co-founders have been humbled many hundreds of times by the Character, the Class and Strength and Honour that their fellow CAV members have brought to the organization. Their families, the Veteran Supporters and the many Canadian heroes that have joined, ridden with, and continue to serve this great country are the real heroes.Since the CAV motorcycle units were started in 2003, they have assisted, and continue to assist, numerous charities in achieving their monetary goals. Charity Event Riding and Community Support Events are an integral part of many of our members CAV/VAC Adventure-No one ‘Has’ to participate in these as members but there are always those willing to assist International, National and local charities. There are certain charities such as ICROSS and the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care that the CAV/VAC supports directly with all the monies raised going directly to these charities. The CAV/VAC also assists other events such as the Red Ride and Ride for Dad by providing volunteers and participating in the rides. The CAV/VAC continues to support charities and fund raisers and all members are to be congratulated for the continued support that they offer. The CAV is an honourable veteran based organization and maintains the values of our uniformed service – those of integrity, legitimacy, honour and strength!
Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund
To ensure that every Veteran who is homeless or near homeless finds the help they need to leave the streets behind.
In November 2009, Mr. Joe Sweeney, a Korean War Veteran, who has dedicated much of his time to assisting homeless person in the City of Toronto, wanted to organize a Remembrance Day Ceremony to honour the homeless Veterans. With assistance from The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command it was held at the Scott Mission in Toronto. At the conclusion of the ceremony it quickly became evident that there were a number of homeless Veterans within the city and a team made up of personnel from Veterans Affairs Canada and The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command were determined to see what could be done to assist them. This team travelled to Buffalo, New York in January 2010 to review the United States model to end homelessness in Veterans. From this, a plan to launch a pilot project in Toronto was formulated.
On September 24th, 2010 a partnership between The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command and the Veterans Affairs Canada was announced at the Good Shepherd Ministry in Toronto. In an agreement with the Good Shepherd Ministry and Veterans Affairs Canada, an Outreach Worker has been embedded at the Shelter. This enables the Outreach Worker to gain the trust of the Veteran and to coordinate the type of assistance required with the available resources. With the assistance of Mr. Joe Sweeney, our Homeless Veterans Committee Project Advisor, they have approached other shelters in the downtown core.
When news of the program reached the Ontario Command Legion Branches, they were very eager to assist. A Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund was started at the Provincial Headquarters and the Branches responded with generous donations. With funds raised from the Ladies Auxiliary, ‘comfort bags’ were assembled with personal items such as shampoo, shaving cream, shavers, hats, mitts and socks and distributed to Veterans through the Outreach Worker. With assistance from the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund, we have been able to permanently house Veterans with the assistance for their first/last month’s rent, furniture and food vouchers. Rental assistance has also been provided to those facing eviction. Medical assistance has been given to other Veterans such as dental treatments, transportation to stress therapy clinics, eyeglasses and much more.
The Joe Sweeney Fund was created to ensure that these Veterans have suitable housing and/or the support services they require to remain permanently housed and with a stable future. Tax receipts can be issued for this fund.
We have assisted over 450 Homeless Veterans in 92 communities throughout Ontario. This includes providing first and last month’s rent, gift cards from Walmart and various grocery stores. We have also provided apartment starter kits valued at $250 including pillows, blankets and the list goes on. Comfort bags have also been provided that has toiletries ID badges, mittens, gloves, toques and much more.