A Korean War veteran who helped more than 1,000 soldiers’ families access military pensions, medals and compensation was honoured with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General.
Getting the tribute is “pretty wonderful,” said Horace Warden, who spent his retirement assisting other veterans, their children and widows through the Red Deer’s Royal Canadian Legion.
Whether helping a former soldier gain compensation for his post-traumatic stress disorder, or assisting children to receive their father’s medals, “I enjoyed it enormously,” said Warden, 84.
His wife said Warden never turned away anyone in need. “He worked every day but Sunday — and even some Sundays,” added Donalda Warden, who’s proud of her husband’s dedication.
Warden, who retired in 1996, worked as a Michener Centre aide and a forest ranger after leaving the military.
As a soldier, he fought in Korea. Warden was also a peacekeeper in Germany and in the Congo, where he sustained a head injury after being hit with the rifle of a Congolese soldier who mistook the Canadian regiment for Belgians.
As a lifetime Legion member, the devoted father of four step-children spent his post-employment years in service to other veterans as past vice-president both of the Legion and the Korean War Veterans group.
Warden assisted with the annual Poppy Campaign and other fundraisers. He helped distribute Legion funds to veterans in financial need, and helped bring the large gun stationed outside the building to Central Alberta from Quebec.
One widow of a soldier who’d been exposed to a mustard gas at the CFB Suffolk received, with Warden’s help, the $50,000 in compensation her husband had had been owed. “People were so grateful to him,” said Donalda.
Warden is among 10 Red Deer residents, including Red Deer legion president Bev Hanes, who received Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. The medal that replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians in a wide range of fields.
Warden previously received municipal recognition, as well as commendation from the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs. One of his greatest honours was travelling to South Korea with other war veterans in 2005 to be honoured by that country’s president.