FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizens’ Group Names Pat Stogran ‘Honourary Colonel’
St. John’s – The man who led Canada’s first battle group into Afghanistan, and who served as the first Veteran’s Ombudsman, has a new ‘first’ to add to his resume: first ever Honourary Colonel of a civilian organization. The St. John’s based citizens’ advocacy group Our Duty announced the appointment today of Colonel Pat Stogran to the position today.
“We are thrilled that Pat has joined us,” said President Jeff Rose-Martland, “Since he left the Ombudsman’s Office, Colonel Stogran has had many offers. We are very honoured that he has accepted ours.”
Our Duty promotes citizen responsibility and advocates for Veterans. As a civilian organization, it doesn’t have a role for a military leader – the position was created especially for Stogran. “It’s not that we need a Colonel,” Rose-Martland explains, “But that we wished to honour one.”
“In many ways, Pat was the inspiration for Our Duty. I watched the big press conference in 2010. Along with Dennis Manuge and Brian Dyck, Colonel Stogran was on the national news, telling all of us that Canada is failing its Veterans. I contacted Pat via Twitter and asked how I could help. He said I should tell people what is happening.”
One week later, Our Duty was born.
Colonel Stogran has been a long-time supporter of Our Duty’s efforts for Veterans. “They are not a Veterans group, but being outside is important because it adds an independent voice to Veterans’,” he said. The former soldier also likes Our Duty’s promotion of citizen responsibility: “Their mandate is to keep people informed and educated, and to offer hope for Canada.”
The advocacy group has been active and visible in the campaign for better support for Veterans – in 2012, Our Duty released a report highly critical of VAC’s Client Satisfaction Survey; and has recently has been involved in a public spat with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino. Our Duty is currently promoting a petition calling on Government to meet its obligations to Veterans. The petition has collected over 50,000 names in the past few weeks. Our Duty is also preparing for the final of its annual awareness campaign Veterans Among Us.
The former Ombudsman is enthusiastic about the campaign. Our Duty’s event calls on Canada’s Veterans to sport their medals, insignia, or badges on at the beginning and end of November. In a YouTube video released last month, Colonel Stogran encouraged all of his comrades to join in: “Wear your [medals] proudly and show your friends and neighbours that you are indeed a veteran among us!”
In accepting the title Honourary Colonel, Pat Stogran said “I like this group. I like what Our Duty stands for and the work they have done. I’m pleased to be able to lend my name to them if it helps further their campaign for a better Canada.”
For more information:
MEDIA CONTACT / PERSONNE-RESSOURCE
Jeff Rose-Martland (anglais seulement)
President, Our Duty Inc