Canadian stage, television and film actor Paul Gross is the first recipient of The Royal Canadian Legion’s Founders Award. The announcement was made in June by Dominion President Pat Varga during the Legion’s 44th dominion convention in Halifax.
Gross produced and starred in the movie Passchendaele, “a very personal project that has been deemed a teaching heritage for future generations,” Varga told delegates who applauded the achievement. “He succeeded in inspiring us all with the story of Canada’s victory…bringing to the forefront this important chapter in our nation’s proud military history.”
“It is a great honour,” said Gross in a videotaped acceptance speech played at convention. His grandfather, who served with the 10th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, was the inspiration for the film. “Canadian soldiers have served with distinction and they have represented our nation with great honour. I’ve always felt it is our responsibility as civilians to return that honour and recognize the sacrifice we ask of them.”
He thanked the Legion as well for the support it offered his grandfather. “The Royal Canadian Legion was a mainstay in his life…that sustained him throughout his long years. I’m positive if my grandfather were looking down right now, he would be smiling.”
The Founders Award recognizes individuals or organizations for extraordinary achievement in an area that exemplifies and advances the purposes and objectives of the Legion in the spirit and vision of its founders.
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