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FRIDAY, November 13, 2009


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P18575R14 $79.95 P20575R15 $95.00 Phone for prices on other sizes CHYZY SALES & SERVICE ARBORG, MB (204) 376-2263

A long way home

By John Coward In this week of Remembrance when we pay homage to the hundreds of thousands of military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice to hold secure our freedom, the phrase ?Lest We Forget? will be heard from pulpits and podiums across the country. Headstones and crosses in cemeteries around the world mark the war dead, with most identified, but some remain ?unknown?. Where did they come from? What was their story? One such military headstone in the Riverton Cemetery marks the final resting place of United States Air Force Vietnam veteran Sgt. Blaine E. Hadady. His headstone says he was laid to rest at the age of 25. Who was this veteran and what was his story? After a year-long quest, Gimli resident Rick King, who acts as public relations liaison for the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association, has finally identified this young man and his connection to the Riverton area. King?s quest began out of the blue when shopping at Super A Foods in Gimli. The butcher there, Norm Gudbjartson, remarked on King?s t-shirt which promoted the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association. He told King there was a U.S. veteran buried at the Riverton Cemetery near his father?s grave. Gudbjartson couldn?t recall the name on the military headstone but that was enough for King?s inquiring mind. A number of visits to Riverton?s municipal office and discussions with a number of residents involved in the Riverton Cemetery gave King a track to run on. On his second trip to the cemetery, King finally discovered the headstone and the name Hadady. ?It was a cloudy, rainy day at the cemetery but the sun broke through the clouds and the light shone over to where the gravestone stood. U.S. military headstones Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association members Butch Buffie (from left), King, Rob Purvis and Murray Bradshaw at the grave of Blaine Hadady (top right), marked by a white U.S. military headstone, in the Riverton Cemetery. are white not gray like the Canadian headstones so I knew we were in the right place,? King said. Further investigation identified a former Riverton resident who now resides in Winnipeg as the cousin of Hadady. Eric Johannson would be instrumental in putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Pictures, documents and personal memorabilia held by Johannson were just what King was searching for. King says earlier searches into U.S. military records of Canadians who served in the Vietnam War came up empty. Hadady was not a Canadian citizen, so why is he buried in Riverton under a U.S. military headstone? Hadady?s story began more than 2,500 miles from Riverton. Blaine was born in New Mexico in 1947 to Alex Hadady and Olof Hadady (nee Johannson). Alex, an American, met Olof, a Canadian, while on vacation in Riverton and the two married and moved to the U.S. Blaine was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and joined the U.S. Airforce during the Vietnam War. King says Hadady?s records left behind indicate he served in the theatre of war and returned home. Why he returned to Riverton is unclear but his family roots were here, King speculated. What is clear, though, is Blaine was a living casualty of war. ?We don?t know why he came to Riverton but what we do know is that he was pretty messed up. Some of his records show he spent time in Deer Lodge (a veterans hospital in Winnipeg). The emotional scars of war eventually killed him,? King said. King says the mandate of the CVVA is to honour those Canadians who fought in Vietnam regardless of where they enlisted. ?There seems to be no border when it comes to fighting for freedom and liberty,? he said. It is estimated that more than 30,000 Canadians enlisted in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War and more than 12,000 that saw active duty. In Windsor, Ont., there is a small, privately-funded monument to the Canadians killed in the Vietnam War. At last count there were 125 names on the memorial wall. King says he expects more names to be added as the search continues for those gone but not forgotten. 2008 SIERRA 2WD EXT pwr group, 74,000 km $ * $18,600*


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