100-year-old Métis veteran honoured by northern Sask. village

·3 min read
100-year-old Métis veteran honoured by northern Sask. village
100-year-old Métis veteran honoured by northern Sask. village

When the village of Île-à-la-Crosse, Sask., was asked to pay tribute to one of their own on Remembrance Day last week, the community answered the call.

The village about 380 kilometres north of Saskatoon held a Remembrance Day parade and made a special stop for 100-year-old Métis veteran Louis Roy at his long-term living home.

"He was all smiles throughout the next few days," said Kathy Laliberte, a nurse at Bethany St. Joseph Corporation, a home for the elderly.

"When they came up to the window there wasn't a dry eye in there."

Roy joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1942. Serving in the Saskatoon Light Infantry at the age of 22, he served in England, Africa, Sicily and Italy.

He returned to Canada after the war and settled in Beauval, Sask., about 85 kilomeres south of his home community, with his family.

A father of 10, Roy was an outdoorsman and carpenter, building his own homes on the river banks of Île-à-la-Crosse.

Glenda Burnouf
Glenda Burnouf

"He took a few months off after the war then that's what he did since — trapping, hunting, commercial fishing," said Roy's granddaughter Glenda Burnouf.

"He has worked the land his whole life."

Burnouf was unable to attend the event for her grandfather due to COVID-19 restrictions, but she was able to enjoy it via video.

"I thought it was so nice he was dressed up," said Burnouf.

"When they zoomed out I was in shock and when he saluted I had tears in my eyes. I was so proud."

Burnouf said she is glad for Facetime and videos during the restrictions that are in place in many long term care facilities.

Roy is known for his humour and sharpness, said Burnouf. She said he has always been independent and usually always wears blue jeans. Roy lived by himself up until he entered the long-term care facility a few months ago.

St. Joseph's recreation worker Tracy Kyplain said staff noticed his independence.

"I came out one day and he was standing there swinging his arms. I asked him what he was doing and he looked at me and said 'exercising,'" said Kyplain.

"I knew Remembrance Day was coming and I was surprised he was 100. So I made a few calls and the community was ready to help."

Family members were able to bring his medals and army suit, and staff helped him prepare.

Last year Roy was also honoured by the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan for his service in the Second World War, and was presented with a cheque.

"We are proud that he is one of the oldest veterans that are still alive. At 100 years old, it's an honour just knowing him," said Ryan Carriere, former veterans affairs minister for Métis Nation-Saskatchewan.

Burnouf said she is happy to share moments like that with her grandfather.

"We have a big family and I am so happy we still have him around, jokes and all."