PENTICTON – Penticton resident David Snyder spent four decades in the naval and army reserve forces. The retired Penticton teacher’s affection for telling war veterans’ stories is why he wrote a book called Penticton Remembers.
“Veterans’ stories, in my opinion, need to be told. They’re a vital part of Canadian history,” says Snyder. “We don’t always know as much history as we should.”
This is the second volume of the book.
“In 2008, I did volume one, which was 42 veterans of the south Okanagan,” says Snyder.
The second volume tells the stories and biographies of 52 more veterans from the south Okanagan.
“There are seven prisoners of war (POWs) in the book. One from the Great War, it’s a tremendous story. It’s a great war escape story from a prominent Penticton citizen,” says Snyder.
He is referring to the story of Syd Kenyon, who was once a POW.
“To know that this man, when he was in POW camp refused to work, not working, end of discussion, so they threw him in cells, what kind of courage, what kind of tenacity,” says Snyder.
It was standing room only at the Penticton Lakeside Resort on Saturday for Snyder’s book launch. Filling the room were family members and friends of local veterans, interested community members, former students of Snyder and his friends.
“I’ve always been proud of him. I didn’t like him a couple of times when he was disciplining me when I was in the military but he’s one of the best men that I know,” says Veteran Dennis Webb, who is a good friend of Snyder and served under his command.
Snyder says Okanagan residents will find familiar names throughout the book as some of the veterans have gone on to become key figures in the community.
Snyder also included the story of his own son, Jonathan Snyder, who died while on tour with the Canadian military in Afghanistan in 2008.
He says this isn’t necessarily the end of his mission to tell stories like these.
Proceeds from the sales of the books will go to bursaries for graduating army or air cadets.
His books can be bought in Penticton at Dragon’s Den and The Book Shop.