Joe Young of Port au Port East now has even more to show for his many years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces. The veteran and College of the North Atlantic (CNA) student was recently presented with a Quilt of Valour, which recognizes and provides comfort to men and women who have served.
“It’s an honour,” Young said, visibly touched. “It’s respect. Everybody has been touched by the atrocities [of war], and it’s nice to be recognized.”
The quilt is labelled with the Quilts of Valour organization’s heartfelt message to veterans: “Handmade with love, respect and gratitude for your sacrifice to Canada. May the hugs stitched into this quilt give you comfort, strength and love.”
Young’s military career began in 1983, serving on what was then Canada’s only tank regiment. By 1986, he was settled in Germany for four years, where he met his wife, Amanda, – or rather, reconnected with her. It turned out they had gone to school together here in this province.
“She had gone to Germany to be a live-in nanny for her brother, who was serving in the same unit I was,” Young said, adding the first of their two children was born in Germany.
Young’s years in the Canadian Armed Forces also included time in bases throughout Canada, as well as in Haiti, Germany, and, during the Gulf War, Italy. After concluding his challenging and rewarding military service, he faced the decision of determining his next career path. A Royal Canadian Legion service officer provided him with valuable information about Veterans Affairs Canada’s Education and Training Benefit – designed to help veterans with the cost of post-secondary education.
“I thought, since I’d been out of the military for a while, there was no way I’d get it. But I got a call; they were very quick to respond,” Young explained, noting he highly recommends the benefit to other veterans.
Young learned the benefit would provide enough funding for him to complete the Baking and Pastry Arts program at CNA, something he’d been investigating for months. His parents and grandparents all enjoyed baking and Young was drawn to the opportunity to be creative.
“CNA was very accepting,” he said. “I spoke with the instructor for maybe a year in advance, learning about the classes, the facilities, the amount of instruction. Anyone who thinks you can just slide through a baking course, there’s no sliding. It was a great fit.”
Young has been excelling in the program and is already putting his new skills to good use. He recently loaded up on baking supplies and the odds are good his family and friends will benefit this holiday season.
“Christmas gifts this year will likely be treats,” he joked.