November 14, 2017 1:40 am

B.C. man to help commemorate veterans by donating 8 headstones in honour of his dad

Children cleaning veterans' graves at the New Westminster's Fraser Cemetery as part of the Society of the Officers of the Honourable Guard work.

Credit: Officers of the Honourable Guard / Facebook

The search for a missing father he never knew has brought one man to pledge to cover the costs of eight headstones for the unmarked graves of veteran soldiers at New Westminster’s Fraser Cemetery.

An entertainer going by the name of “Mister Blake” says he was born out of wedlock so he never knew his father, but believes he died in the Second World War.

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Blake says that by helping a B.C. group give a voice to the unnamed veterans at the cemetery, he would be honouring his dad.

READ MORE: B.C. group wants to buy headstone for a veteran’s unmarked grave

The Society of the Officers of the Honourable Guard works in conjunction with school children to clean war graves in New Westminster’s Fraser Cemetery. The not-for-profit organization also helps identify unmarked graves of fallen soldiers.

President and guard commander Robert Rathbun says they launched a GoFundMe account hoping to pay for the headstone of a veteran who had remained unidentified for 78 years, until now.

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Blake says the story encouraged him to donate eight headstones so other veterans could have a name.

“They say, ‘Men aren’t supposed to cry,’ but on Remembrance Day, tears come to my eyes thinking, ‘Where could he be?’ And how many other ones are somewhere and nobody knows?'” Blake asked.

READ MORE: Thousands attend Vancouver Remembrance Day ceremony at Victory Square

Rathbun says they are overwhelmed by Blake’s generosity.

“It’s wonderful when members of the community come forward.”

The GoFundMe surpassed the initial goal of $1,200, and by Monday night, it was close to reaching a new $4,800 goal.

Rathbun says the money will be used towards the headstone of William Stevenson and all remaining funds will go towards maintaining their program.

He says there are currently 950 unmarked veteran graves in B.C.

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