Jan de Vries
Pickering, Ontario

Jan de Vries and the Honourable Greg ThompsonA Veteran of the Second World War, Mr. de Vries served with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and later parachuted over the Rhine River into Germany on March 24, 1945. Mr. de Vries is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion and for the past 35 years he has been a member of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association where he has served as Secretary for 5 years and as President for the last 12 years. He represents the Battalion in the National Council of Veteran Associations and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Airborne Forces Museum as well as the Board of the Canadian Airborne Forces Association. His tireless efforts as a Board member contributed to the successful opening of the Juno Beach Centre. Mr. de Vries also served on the D-Day Commemoration Advisory Committee for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. Under his leadership, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association installed memorial plaques in Europe to commemorate their battle areas. As a founding member of the Living History Speakers' Bureau and a member of the Dominion Institute Memory Project, Mr. de Vries regularly speaks to school children and cadet groups on Canada's wartime contributions. He has also organized numerous exhibits displaying his Battalion's artefacts and he ensures the Battalion is represented at commemorative events. Mr. de Vries was also Honorary Chairman of the Corporal Fred Topham Victoria Cross fundraising project, and as a result, all his medals including the Victoria Cross are now at the Canadian War Museum. In June 2004, Mr. de Vries was presented with the French Legion of Honour by President Chirac.

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