Sudbury Métis Veteran being recognized for outstanding contributions during WWII
May 25 (SUDBURY, ON) This Friday, May 26, the late Métis Veteran and former member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Melvin Ronald Rivers is being recognized for his contributions to Canada during the Second World War. The ceremony will take place at The Walford in Sudbury, where Melvin’s wife Grace Rivers will accept recognition from the Government of Canada on Melvin’s behalf.
In 2019, Canada issued a formal apology to Métis Veterans who were neglected when returning to civilian life following the Second World War. From this apology, a Métis Veterans Legacy Program was launched that sees Métis Veterans, or their surviving spouses, receive an apology from the Government of Canada and a Recognition Payment of $20,000. Melvin is being recognized as part of this program.
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh and MNO Veterans Council President, Brian Prairie will be presenting the apology and recognition payment. Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron is providing video remarks. They will be joined by MNO Chair, Hank Rowlinson and Suzanne Fortin, President of the Sudbury Métis Council.
Media are welcome to attend and photos will be taken during the ceremony, which can be shared afterward at request.
|WHAT:||Sudbury Métis Veteran being recognized: Melvin Ronald Rivers|
|WHERE:||Location: Walford Retirement Home, 99 Walford Road East, Sudbury P3E 6K3|
|WHEN:||Friday, May 26, 2023
About Melvin Ronald Rivers
Melvin Ronald Rivers was born on February 9, 1920, on a family farm in Massey, Ontario. As one of 12 children, he left school at a young age to help support his family during the Great Depression by working as a farm hand in the Massey area and travelling as far as Alberta for farm work.
On October 4, 1941, Melvin followed in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Second World War. His dad had served overseas in World War I and been recently called back to serve as a guard at the prisoner-of-war camp in Espanola, Ontario inside the KVP Company.
Melvin enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Canada based in Winnipeg. Upon completing basic training, he was sent to England to await deployment which happened in June 1944, upon arrival in France. He advanced with his regiment to Belgium, where he was wounded in a mortar attack – remnants of which physically impacted Melvin for the rest of his life. Once mostly recovered, Melvin returned to active duty until his release in October 1945.
He showed tremendous leadership capabilities, having been promoted to Master Corporal and recommended to be promoted to Sergeant by the end of the war. Once Melvin returned home, he began working at KVP in Espanola. He met Grace who would soon become his wife and upon their marriage in 1947 moved to Sudbury to start a job with Inco Limited, where he remained for the next 35 years raising five children in his new home.
Melvin was a proud man. He took pride in the fact he served his country; pride in his family; pride in his Métis identity and heritage; and pride in everything he did within his community.