A Winnipeg couple helped honour and recognize two local Aboriginal men for their service in the Korean War last week in Selkirk.
Frank Orvis, 86, of Selkirk and Gerald Bennett, 83, of Gimli were presented with an Ambassador For Peace medal and certificate on behalf of Canada’s Korean consulate inside Orvis’s Selkirk home last Friday afternoon.
Both men said it “felt great” to be honoured for their service.
Orvis served in the Korean War in 1953-54 and Bennett served nine months in 1953.
Wonjae Song and Olivia Do of Winnipeg have been busy trying to locate Canadian Korean War veterans for nearly four years. They are passing the information on to Canada’s Korean consulate, which awards the veterans with medals and certificates honouring their service.
Song and Do are currently trying to track down more Indigenous Canadian veterans.
After reading about the couple’s search in the Feb. 2 edition of the Selkirk Record, both Orvis and Bennett reached out to Song to share their stories.
To date, the couple has helped honour nearly 60 Korean War veterans and descendants. In January, Song also presented Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Chief and Sgt. Tommy Prince’s nephew, Jim Bear, with a medal honouring Prince for his efforts during the Korean War.
Song is the publisher of The Diversity Times, and Do is the managing editor at The Korea Times, both of which appear in one monthly publication.
When Do and Song get in touch with a veteran, they share their story in their publication. Song said they are also putting together a book about Korean War veterans.
Do said one of the newspaper’s mandates is to “help Koreans to understand our societal system and Canadian cultures,” and sharing stories of Indigenous people is a way to achieve this.
“We believe that Koreans need to integrate with other cultures,” Do said during an earlier interview with the Record.
Do and Song immigrated to Canada from Korea in 2004. They say they have such a strong interest in the Korean War since many people call it the “forgotten war.”
“When we met Korean War veterans, they told us that the Second World War history is well known, but the Korean war is not really known,” Song said. “We don’t want the Korean War forgotten.”
Anyone that knows a Korean War veteran who are Indigenous Canadians or are their descendants are being asked to email Wonjae Song directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Written by By Lindsey Enns, Selkirk Record)