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Cariboo Métis veteran receives heartwarming gift from Fraser Valley students

“It brought tears to my eyes”
Canadian Armed Forces Métis veteran Terry Payette said he was moved to tears to receive a handmade Christmas card in the mail, made by a student in the Fraser Valley as a show of appreciation for his years of service to the country. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

One of the best presents Métis veteran Terry Payette received this Christmas came in the form of a plain, brown envelope delivered to his mailbox in Williams Lake.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Payette said Monday, holding a brightly coloured children’s drawing with the words “Merry Christmas” scrawled across the centre of it.

“I was quite shocked to see it and quite pleased.”

Along with the Christmas drawing was a typed note, explaining the card came from students in the Fraser Valley who wanted to “do something to show their appreciation for the service you, as a Métis veteran, provided for Canada.”

“This card was handmade by a student as a way to connect this Christmas, at a time when in person connection can be hard,” it noted. “We hope this card finds you well and wish you a safe and happy holiday season.”

Payette is a Métis veteran who served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1969 to 1990. He was stationed in Cypress and many other locations, as combat arms and, later, in the Canadian Air Force.

When asked by the Tribune what it was like serving Canada as a Métis person, Payette suggested it wasn’t an inclusive experience.

“We’re not accepted by one or the other. We’re neither, we’re just Métis.”

Being recognized by the Fraser Valley students for his service to Canada as a Métis veteran was very special, Payette said.

“It brought me a lot of joy and appreciation.”

Payette has lived in Williams Lake since his retirement with his wife Barbara, whom he met while teaching a Tai Chi class.

Referring to her as ‘the love of my life,’ the couple spent the Christmas holiday quietly at home adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 74 COVID deaths over Christmas holiday break; total number of cases tops 50,000

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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