TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, CMM, MSC, CD, Assistant Deputy Minister at Veterans Affairs Canada, along with Mark Cohon, Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner, presented the annual Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award today to Graeme Bell of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"The partnership between Veterans Affairs Canada and the CFL allows Canadians to pay tribute to our Veterans on a national platform," said Minister Blaney. "Our Veterans acted selflessly and courageously to protect the freedoms and values of our country. We honour and encourage the remembrance of their legacy through commemorative partnerships like the one we have established with the CFL."
Graeme Bell was chosen as this year's recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award thanks to his efforts as a leader both on and off the field. His teammates look to him for leadership and his community benefits from his involvement in many different charities, fundraisers and organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, Homeless Connect, and the Brain Injury Association.
"We are enormously proud of this award because we are so proud of our association with our Veterans, to whom we owe our freedom and democracy," said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. "And we are equally proud of Graeme Bell. He truly exemplifies the qualities of Canada's Veterans, and epitomizes what is best about our league. His story is a testament to the power of courage and perseverance, his life an example of selfless service to others. We congratulate him, and always, thank our Veterans for their service to all of us.""We are pleased to present the award this year to Graeme Bell," said Lieutenant-General Semianiw. "He demonstrates the attributes shared by our Veterans—strength, perseverance, comradeship, courage and community involvement." Jake Gaudaur was a Canadian hero. A Canadian fighter pilot instructor during the Second World War, he won Grey Cups as both a player and an executive, before serving as commissioner of the CFL from 1968 to 1984. His story embodies the historic bond between the league and Veterans, one that is celebrated with the presentation of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans' Award. It is presented each year to a CFL player who shares similar attributes with Canada's Veterans. Today's presentation was held at Moss Park Armoury with Veterans in attendance.