In March, 2015, the Legion received an email from the son of a Veteran. Henry Gartley wrote to thank the Legion for helping is father, Hazen Gartley, and to tell us a little more about the Veteran we helped. By permission of the Gartley Family, we are pleased to share his story.
Hazen with his twin brother, Henry
Hazen Ernest Gartley hails from Watson Settlement, a small town in New Brunswick. When the call to service came to fight in the Second World War, Hazen and his twin brother Henry went to basic training, as all young men were required to do at the time. Unbeknownst to Henry, Hazen later snuck into town and enlisted so his brother would not have to go.
- Hazen with his army buddies.
Hazen served honourably as a driver mechanic in the Active Force in World War II throughout England, France, Belgium, and Germany from 1941 to 1945.
In a happy turn of events, he found his beautiful bride Irene while overseas in England. As often happens with war brides, Irene preceded Hazen in coming to Canada. Hazen arrived home sometime later to Watson Settlement with just 700 dollars in his pocket saved from his army pay. Both Hazen and Irene came from poor beginnings, knew how to work hard, save and spend wisely. The two took that $700 to buy a home, a cow Irene named Veronica, and two pigs whose names have been lost over time. From those meager beginnings, Hazen and Irene built a wonderful family.
- Hazen and Irene’s first home, purchased with money saved from Hazen’s army pay.
Hazen and Irene Gartley, 1945
From the time of his release from the Forces until this past year, Hazen was unaware that he might be entitled to care and benefits as a result of his service to Canada. Hazen now lives in Houlton, Maine, a border town to New Brunswick. When he moved to the United States in 1958 and became a naturalized US citizen, his family assumed he would no longer be eligible for benefits. It was not until his nephew and niece, Andrew and Louise Bell, thought their “Uncle Hazen” should be getting something for the time he served in WWII, that the family decided to dig a little deeper. Andrew and Louise contacted their Legion Provincial Command who referred the Veteran’s family to Dominion Command.
Upon review of Hazen’s records and circumstances, Dominion Command Service Officer Roseanna Mandy reached out to Hazen’s son, Henry and guided him, step by step, through the process of applying for benefits through Veterans Affairs Canada. Henry stated in his email to the Legion that he could not have done it without the Service Bureau’s assistance.
In March of 2015, Hazen and his family received a letter from the Legion with the good news. As Hazen’s son wrote in his email to the Legion:
Hazen reading the letter from the Legion and getting the good news!
“We never thought in a million years that Dad would get a monthly disability pension. He was simply amazed when I brought the letter in to him to read. He was so very appreciative and proudly wore the Poppy sticker that came with the letter. I think he read that letter ten times, as if he couldn’t believe it!
Dad knew what it was to grow up poor and scrimped and saved his whole life. This extra money is going to be a huge help to him and he is still talking about it.
I’m sharing this with you to make my father more real to you, so that you can see the person that you have helped, and have made happy. This pension is more than just money, but about some recognition and putting a smile on an old guy’s face on a very dreary March day. He just couldn’t believe it!
Your work is very much appreciated. Thank you Roseanna, and to everyone in the Legion’s Service Bureau… it meant the world to him.”
Hazen turned 98 on August 12, 2015. We were so pleased to be able to bring a smile to this Veteran’s face by helping him secure the benefits he long deserved. The Legion continues to help all Veterans, including serving and retired military and RCMP members and their families, to get the care and benefits they deserve. Our services are free, and you don’t have to be a member to be helped by the Legion.
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Whether you’re a retired Veteran, serving military or RCMP member, or a family member seeking help, contact a Command Service Officer in your Province or at Dominion Command. We’re here to help.
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