Honouring World War II Métis Veteran Thomas Charles (Chuck) Johnston

In the words of President June Graham:

It was an absolute privilege and honour to present World War II Veteran, Thomas Charles (Chuck) Johnston with a recognition payment on behalf of Minister David Chartrand, Minister of Veterans, Metis National Council.

Backing up a bit, when Covid-19 initially started, we had office workers do a call out to our Elders. It was there that Olivia identified an elderly gentleman in his 90s. We got to thinking that possibly if he was a veteran, he may be eligible for the recognition payment. I spoke with his daughter and she confirmed he was in fact a veteran. Things went quickly then. Minister Dean Gladue, Minister of Veterans for MNBC, was notified. He then contacted Dave Armitt, C Tech Master Warrant Officer (retired), and Veteran Chair at MNBC. It was verified that Thomas Charles Johnston was eligible, and the process was expatiated. Thank-you to senior policy analyst Albert Beck for all your support in preparing myself and the family for the event so it ran smoothly.

Veteran Johnston gathered with his family on April 1, 2021 on a beautiful sunny day in the open carport of his daughter, Jennie Michalenko’s, home. At noon, Minister David Chartrand called Veteran Johnston by way of Zoom. Minister Chartrand gave his greetings and chatted with Veteran Johnston. He expressed his disappointment in not being able to be there in person and hoped to come visit him in the future when it was safe to do so. President Graham of Alberni Clayoquot Métis Society then made the presentation on Minister Chartrand’s behalf. A recognition payment was given to Veteran Johnston. Letters from Minister Chartrand and an apology letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Lawrence MacAulay was read out loud to Veteran Johnston.

It was indeed a historical moment. Veteran Johnston was very pleased, and his family so proud of him. Had we not been in a world pandemic this ceremony would have been much more elaborate. There were many people who would have liked to be present to witness this event, however, given the new Covid restrictions they were unable to attend. The entire ceremony is live on our Alberni Clayoquot Métis Society Facebook page for those that wish to view it.

Thank you, Veteran Johnston,  for your selfless service and your courage to serve our country. I am so grateful to have witnessed this historical event. Thank you to Olivia Shewish for broadcasting us live during the event. Thank you to Vice President Judy Black for accompanying me. Last but not least, thank you to Veteran Johnston’s family for your gracious hospitality and hosting the event. It was a proud day indeed.

June Graham

President, Alberni Clayoquot Métis Society