Windsor boy sends veteran to Belgium for first time since WWII
10-year-old Aiden Dick raised money through a roadside lemonade stand
Using the tools in his own arsenal — a roadside lemonade stand and a barbecue — 10-year-old Aiden Dick raised enough money to fly a local veteran to a city in Belgium he hasn't seen since the Second World War.
Dick collected $989.50 and handed it to Sgt. Roy Hare inside of a sealed blue baggie on Tuesday. All of it came in just one day, mostly from complete strangers who stopped at his stand in Belle River, Ont. last month.
"I had this one lady drive all the way from who knows where to give me a $50 bill," said Dick.
As the recipient, Hare will be able to fly to Ekeren, Belgium next month. It's a place he hasn't been since 1945, when the war ended. And he isn't sure the type of emotional reaction he'll have when he finally arrives.
"It's going to mean a great deal because it's places you've been before but of course I'll never recognize them now compared to when I was over there, because it was all in shambles," said Hare. "The buildings were all bombed."
A local group, alongside Hare, will tour several war cemeteries and battle sites. Following that, there will be a parade and dedication ceremony with Belgian Army representatives and other dignitaries.
Hare joined army at 18
Hare joined the Canadian Army when he was 18 and trained as an infantryman in Canada and England.
He's also a part of the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment — that's how Dick and Hare are indirectly connected, through the 10-year-old's father, Greg.
Inspired by his father
Dick's father inspired him to help those who fought for his freedom. Greg retired after 18 years, as someone who helped with logistical support.
Now Dick is focusing his efforts on Project Ten Men, an online fundraising effort to support the 10 remaining Second World War veterans within the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment.
"I'm really proud of myself for that," he said.