The Thank-A-Vet Luncheon has been an annual event for over TWO decade! But it wouldn’t have been around at all if not for the Dutch Club and it’s celebration of the liberation of Holland. The following is an excellent article by our very own Colleen Toms of The Expositor here in Brantford on the history of the event!
An Expositor Remembrance Day Special Section
Wednesday November 7th, 2007
Dutch Club honoured for role in remembering Veterans
BY COLLEEN TOMS
Expositor Staff – Brantford
Members of the Thank-A-Vet Luncheon committee celebrated the 10th anniversary for the popular event by honouring the Dutch Club of Brantford. “we felt it very appropriate on the 10th Anniversary to create a new award that honours citizens and groups who strive to preserve the memory of our veterans,” Brant MPP Dave Levac said “This year the award will go to the Dutch Club. It helps us to remember our roots and how Thank-A-Vet evolved.”
The Dutch Club was instrumental in the birth of the Thank-A-Vet Luncheon. In May 1980 members of the club invited all veterans of Brantford and Brant County to be their guests at a luncheon and dance to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the liberation of The Netherlands.
“The Dutch people were and continue to be extremely thankful of Canada’s involvement in the liberation of Holland,” said Levac. “They hosted the first dance to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the liberation and then continued to host the dance on the first Saturday in May for several years.”
In 1998 the event evolved into the Thank-A-Vet Luncheon, as it is now known today, due to the efforts of The Dutch Club and Stan Wawzonek. When they attended the luncheon and dance in 1998 veterans were presented with commemorative plates and photographs of veterans were enlarged and hung in the hall. The pictures were later donated to Brantford’s Canadian Military Heritage Museum.
“When Stan Wawzonek was introducing his double poppy campaign to pay tribute to our veterans the two events were married and became the Thank-A-Vet Luncheon,” said Levac. “Everybody involved saw it as an evolution of the annual dance and some of the original dance committee members still come to luncheon every year.”