War Amps Key Tag Service is celebrating 75 years of returning lost keys to their owners which continues to help families through the War Amps Child Amputee Program.
Donations to the key tag service provide vital support to amputees across Canada, including Nate Collier, 8, of Red Deer who is a partial left-hand amputee.
As a member of child amputee program (CHAMP), Nate is eligible for financial assistance for artificial limbs and adaptive devices, as well as peer support.
His mother Jodi said Nate got his first device when he was five-years old that allows him to grip a hockey stick, and recently needed a new one.
“I don’t think as a family we would be have been able to afford those. They are thousands of dollars just for one device that you know he’s going to outgrow,” Jodi said.
She said her family has attended two CHAMP conferences so child amputees can meet and enjoy activities together, which nurture children’s mental well being.
“It’s a big deal to see other kids, to see kids with different types of amputations, and the way that they cope and overcome.”
She said through the program Nate met and became friends with a young boy from Okotoks with the exact same amputation.
Parents also benefit from CHAMP events.
“It’s nice to see other kids that have done so well. Seeing that just gives you a lot of hope.”
The key tag service launched in 1946 so that returning war amputee veterans could not only work for competitive wages, but provide a service to Canadians that would generate funds for the association’s many programs.
Jodi said they didn’t know Nate was an amputee until he was born, and War Amps was a shining light in that first year.
“War Amps isn’t a thing of the past. They are active and helping kids. They do some really great work.”
The key tag service continues to employ amputees, and people with disabilities, and has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners.
War Amps receive no government grants and its programs are possible through public support of the key tag and address label service.
For more information, or to order key tags, visit waramps.ca or call toll-free 1 800 250-3030.