Mayor Jim Watson and Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Guy Robitaille for a lifetime of community service and service to his country, which began with his valorous leadership in battle while very seriously wounded, in Sicily in July 1943.

Guy Robitaille, 93, was born in Lévis-Lauzon, Québec, in 1920. He and his seven siblings were orphaned in 1936, and soon after, at age 16, he joined the army and was transferred into Québec’s Royal 22e Régiment, the Van Doos.

He became an officer in 1941 and was sent to the battlefields of WWII in July 1942, just after marrying his childhood sweetheart Annie Fox.

In July 1943, as he led three platoons up Santa Maria hill in central Sicily, he was hit three times with bullets and shrapnel, but continued to command his troops as they over-ran four German defensive positions near the summit. He was awarded the Military Cross for Bravery. The citation that accompanied the medal reads: “for bravery, courage and leadership in battle”.

After five operations and a year of recovery in various hospitals, he returned to service in the army. After duty in France, Belgium, Kansas, Washington D.C. and Montréal, he was posted to Ottawa, He and Annie bought a house on Bonnie Crescent in Ottawa’s west end, where they raised two daughters and a son. He retired from the Forces in 1960 and joined the federal civil service, working for the Official Languages Commissioner.

After retiring from the civil service in 1971 at age 65, he became a much-loved volunteer at a daycare for pre-schoolers in Copeland Park.

He moved to the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Care Centre in 2010, where he is President of the Veterans’ Council. He delivers newspapers to fellow residents and helps wherever he can. The children from the Copeland Park daycare still visit him at the Perley and Rideau Centre. His wife of almost 70 years, Annie, passed away in March 2012.