Mayor Jim Watson, with Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Maurice Bilodeau for his volunteer activities and selfless contributions in Ottawa.

Now 85, and a veteran of Second World War combat duty in Europe, Maurice returned to Holland in 1995 to commemorate the thousands of young Canadian soldiers who never returned home. He was surprised by the avid interest that many young Dutch students expressed in the Second World War and after speaking of life in 1944, they provided him with a big “Thank You” poster.

This planted the seed of an idea and once back in Ottawa, Maurice contacted a few teachers at area schools and offered to visit classrooms to help students understand the hardships of a soldier and the horrors of war. He has since visited many schools and informed students with his honest, first-person account of life at the front.

Maurice also spends two days a week volunteering at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre on Russell Road in Alta Vista Ward where he spends time with and assists residents and patiently shares experiences with them. He received the 2006 Caring Canadian Award presented by then Governor General Michaëlle Jean.