Island father and son thank veterans, meet PM at Juno Beach D-Day celebration

Youngster: Trudeau is a “nice guy” but the real excitement came from meeting the veterans

Parksville resident (Ret) Master Corporal Kevin Pavan and his son Laken attend the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Juno Beach on June 6. - Submitted photo

A Parksville veteran and his son were pleased to honour surviving D-Day soldiers on the battle fields where they fought for liberation of German-occupied France 75 years earlier.

On June 6, Kevin Pavan, a retired soldier who served in Bosnia in 2003 and Afghanistan as a combat engineer, and his 13-year-old son Laken Pavan, who attends Springwood Elementary School, were at Juno Beach — one of five Allied landing zones—for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The two are travelling around Western Europe to various battlefields with Liberation bus tours until June 26. Prior to their departure, Kevin, a member of the Parksville Legion, reached out to Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni and advocate for Canadian veterans, who hooked he and Laken up with V.I.P passes to the D-Day event.

RELATED: Former RCAF pilot recalls the time prior to D-Day

Kevin and Laken were able to meet and talk to many veterans during the celebration, including Gen. Jonathan Vance and the Commander of Joint Operation (special forces), who gave Laken some command coins.

“That was pretty special,” Kevin said. “Laken got to thank each and every one of them.”

At another point during the ceremony, Kevin said his son met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“It was pretty cool, [Trudeau] spent time with Laken and posed for a picture,” Kevin said.

Laken said Trudeau is a “nice guy” but that the real excitement for the day was meeting the veterans.

“It was better meeting the veterans because the day was about them,” Laken said. “I met quite a few veterans. One was in the navy, one flew a Lancaster Plane.”

RELATED: Parksville veteran notes importance of D-Day

Laken comes from a military family, his great-great-grandfather battled in the First World War in the 52nd infantry, and he hopes to one day serve in the army himself.

“After Afghanistan, I became a single father and [Laken] has always been by my side, helping me out at work,” Kevin said. “Laken fell in love with history. He understands what [soldiers] went through and to be on the battle fields. To see where they fought, I don’t think words can really describe it until you come here.”

Both Laken and Kevin give big kudos to Johns for helping them in honouring the veterans.

“It means so much,” Kevin said. “It was great for me to come back and thank these guys.”

“I couldn’t have gone to D-Day if it wasn’t for Gord Johns,” Laken said.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

 

Thirteen-year-old Laken Pavan from Parksville, shakes hands and thanks veterans during a D-Day celebration in France at Juno Beach. - Submitted by Kevin Pavan

Just Posted

Victoria author nominated for prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize

Steven Price’s book, Lampedusa, is a historical fiction novel about an an Italian author

Do surveys and referendums work for our democracy?

Direct democracy in the form of surveys and referendum is at odds with western liberal democracy

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. Ferries wants input on what a new Horseshoe Bay terminal might look like

Ferry corporation accepting feedback on terminal re-development design concepts until Oct. 13

Two years for cop car crusher

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

New short-film festival spotlights the weird and wonderfully macabre

Foggy Isle Film Festival happens Sept. 26 at the Victoria Event Centre

Islander honoured for 56 volunteer international aid missions

Former Parksville principal Bill Rawlins receives Sovereign’s Medal from Governor General

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

Shipping container housing for homeless coming to Courtenay

Project is partnership of Comox Rotary and Dawn to Dawn and will help address housing needs

Judge quashes Victoria man’s appeal of 90 day weekend sentence for trafficking meth

Godofredo Narboneta Ruiz was the owner, driver of vehicle used to transport the drugs

Most Read