Honouring Sioux Lookout veterans a labour of love
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
John Cole has been collecting photos of Sioux Lookout’s war veterans for quite a few years. Now people will be able to view them at the Legion.
“We were decorating the hall for Remembrance Day and Kim Suprovich and I, we were both on the (Legion) executive, decided we’d put up some photos of veterans when they were young, in uniform.
“She had pictures of her family. I had pictures of my family. We picked up a few others. We posted them, and people were really excited about it, so I started collecting them,” Cole explained.
“We got enough that we made a disc with music and we played that at Remembrance Day. At that time there were probably 20 vets. I can remember standing in front, in the colour guard, watching these fellows as they watched these pictures. You could see tears in their eyes. I just got caught up in it. So I’ve been collecting them ever since,” he added.
Over the past eight years Cole has collected photos of more than 200 individuals for the Legion. He also collects information about Sioux Lookout veterans.
Cole will be setting up a photo display in the Legion clubroom a few days before Remembrance Day. He will leave the display up until a few days after.
“Every year we display them, people come to me and say, I’ve got a picture of my dad, and it went that way. We got more, and more, and more,” Cole informed.
“To me, it’s capturing some of the history of Sioux Lookout,” he said.
The majority of Cole’s photos are of Second World War veterans, although he does have a few photos of veterans from the First World War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Gulf War.
Cole has been posting veterans photos on his Facebook page leading up to Remembrance Day.
“I have pictures of different aircraft, different ships that Sioux Lookout guys served on. We have an honour roll of all the people that were killed in action. I have information on everything about them we can find; from where they were born, to what they worked at, what their jobs were, what they did before the war, where they were killed.”
Cole said it’s amazing the number of men and women from Sioux Lookout who have served their country in wars over the years.
“My father served; his three brothers. Two were killed in action. The Legion did everything for us while we grew up… the Legion is important to this town,” he said.
Anyone with additional photos or information about Sioux Lookout veterans can drop them off for Cole at the Legion at 86 Front Street Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., or any evening when the bar is open.
People can reach Cole at the Legion at 807-737-3232 or at 807-737-0448.
Another Remembrance Day display featuring Sioux Lookout veterans has been set up at the Sioux Area Senior Activity Centre.
Cole’s Facebook posts of Sioux Lookout veterans inspired the display.
Joan Kydd, Cathy Morriss, and Sandra Lockhart set up the display.
“They got pictures from various places. She (Kydd) asked the Center’s members for pictures mainly, and Cathy printed them all out on her computer.
“Joan brought the photos over to the center and I told her that I had some poppies that were made by the Beavers from last Remembrance Day so I would bring them over.
“Then we used the poppies to set off each of the pictures that Joan had gotten together. Maybe I enhanced the visual as primary teachers seem to do, but the idea was all Joan’s.
“The center is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. It is also open 9:30 to 11:30 on Saturday mornings. People are invited to come in and look at the display and have a cup of coffee with us. The center will have that display for the month of November,” Lockhart concluded.