Oak Bay 101-year-old honoured on VE Day, nears 101-lap fundraising goal

WatchOne hundred-and-one-year-old Second World War veteran nears his $101,000 fundraising goal as he and two others are honoured in a VE ceremony in Oak Bay. April Lawrence reports.

It is a day to remember: Victory in Europe 75 years ago.

And at Oak Bay’s Carlton House, three veterans who were serving at that time were honoured on May 8.

“Everyone celebrated and there were parades in the streets of Calgary,” recalled Second World War veteran Charlie Etchell.

“It was a blessing,” said veteran Jim Newby.

“I was one of the youngest ones there.”

Among the three residents of Carlton House receiving three pins Friday for their service in the Second World War was 101-year-old John Hillman.

“The European end of war, fantastic day, unfortunately, I wasn’t there to celebrate it,” Hillman said.

That’s because Hillman was still fighting in the Burma Campaign. It’s something he has in common with British Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year-old United Kingdown veteran who recently raised millions for charity, inspiring Hillman to take his lifetime of service to the next level.

Hillman has been walking five laps of the Carlton house courtyard since Monday. His goal is to walk 101 laps to raise $101,000. After only five days he has already nearly hit that goal, by Friday morning surpassing $90,000 for Save the Children Canada.

READ MORE: 101-year-old war veteran hits the pavement to raise $101,000 for kids

“I knew Canadian people were generous but I didn’t realize they’re as generous as they are, they’re fantastic,” he said.

Among the growing crowd of John Hillman fans during his walk on Friday was a group of ambulance paramedics. But they doubted their service would be needed.

“He’s probably fitter than you and I,” joked Acting Supervisor Glen Olson.

“I think it’s absolutely selfless what he’s doing and it’s nothing less than amazing,” he said.

Hillman has served in France, Italy, Africa, and Burma and among his extensive military medals is the oak leaf, meaning Hillman was “mentioned in dispatches”.

“My service was recognized a little bit and I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Hillman says even if he hits his fundraising goal he will finish his 101 laps and continue to raise as much money as he can for the kids

Donate to John Hillman’s campaign for Save the Children Canada here.

April Lawrence

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