© Heather Taweel/The Guardian
Allan Callard, right, a member of the Charlottetown Legion, recruited former premier Robert Ghiz earlier this year to lead fundraising efforts for a True Patriot Love Foundation dinner in November 2015.
Gabriel Mercier of North Rustico has gone from dealing with explosives to milking cows.
Mercier and his wife are making the transition from life in the military, having served all over the world, to owning and operating a dairy farm operation.
He credits the True Patriot Love (TPL) Foundation, a national organization, with making that transition a bit easier.
TPL is a charity that honours the sacrifices of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans and their families in both times of peace and conflict.
It funds programs and research in areas of mental health, physical rehabilitation, family support and veteran transition.
“It helped us make the transition to civilian employment,’’ Mercier said. “It was a great experience...instead of just giving you money they help you to move on with your life.’’
TPL has had fundraising dinners in other cities across Canada to come up with money to run these programs.
Allan Callard, a member of the Charlottetown Legion, is trying to change that.
A tribute dinner will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the P.E.I. Brewing Company on Kensington Road in Charlottetown.
Cavendish Farms has jumped on as the presenting sponsor with the aim of getting more corporate support.
They want to raise $50,000 for the foundation and invite veterans and their spouse or partner to the dinner at no personal cost to them.
This dinner has been held in other major cities before but never in P.E.I.
Callard said he needed a heavy hitter to drive the fundraising effort so he reached out to former P.E.I. premier Robert Ghiz, who accepted.
Businessman and Guardian columnist Campbell Webster is also helping out.
“I think Robert is fantastic for this because of his networking, all the people he knows and he’s well aware of the True Patriot Love Foundation,’’ Callard told The Guardian. “I think it’s something where his input is going to be absolutely phenomenal.’’
Callard added that it’s also about honouring and recognizing what those who have worn the uniform have done for their country - as well as those who held the fort back home.
Ghiz joked that he’s got a bit more free time these days but quickly turned serious about the task at hand.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to help veterans and their families in the province,’’ the former premier said. “We wouldn’t enjoy the freedom we do today if it wasn’t for them so I hope it’s going to be a fairly easy sell in terms of trying to help raise money for this worthwhile cause.’’
Money raised at the dinner will go to P.E.I. veterans and their families.