William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

GLORIA’S GONE TO GLORY

Thank you Gloria, now resting in the Officers’ PMQs in the sky
You won the war of words at the head shed by asking VAC why?
Spraying of Agent Orange in Gagetown, just the thought of it stank
It affected all Canadian guinea pig soldiers, regardless of rank

Blood diseases and cancers caused many, too soon to pass away
Never knowing the reasons of suffering at the end of the their day
But you were not fooled by the secrecy and the official red tape
And you fought a good fight for our Canadian soldiers’ sake

General Seller was a victim who suffered long years
You battled with Doctors and you shed many tears
At the time of his passing you continued the good fight
And you made them pay attention to what was right

The powers that be do not like controversial dissention
Yet they continue to claw back each Army pension
They would never admit that their actions were wrong
Waiting in silence until the victim witnesses were gone

You travelled and lobbied and bent politicians ears on the floor
Asking for them to admit the truth about testing for war
Spraying Agent Orange where our soldiers they trained
Down from the skies the deadly chemicals rained

Thank you Gloria for bringing the plain truth to the fore
For our suffering and dying soldiers from this secret war
Thank you truly Dear Gloria for fighting the good fight
And for trying and helping to make a wrong right!!

Author’s Note: “The Gagetown Victims Are Speaking Out” ©Copyright May 20, 2010 by William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

Canoe Network... C News

Ottawa SunVETS LOSE ALLY
Gloria Sellar Helped Win Compensation for Victims of Agent Orange

By Greg Weston: November 11, 2008

When we first met at her home in Kingston on a dreary spring day, Gloria Sellar was a 78-year-old grandmother recovering from cancer surgery just months after the death of her husband and soul mate of more than six decades.

In short, few would have imagined this otherwise demure widow was about to set aside her own daunting challenges to fight for thousands of desperately ill Canadian veterans and their families.
Unknown to the public on that day in 2005, Gloria had already won a huge battle, albeit with a bittersweet ending.

For almost 15 years, her soldier husband Gordon had struggled with an increasingly debilitating form of leukemia, the highly decorated Canadian brigadier-general reduced from robust to bed-ridden to his death in 2004.

Long before he died, Gloria had been showering doctors and the military with evidence that her husband’s illness may have been linked to the U.S. military’s spraying of deadly Agent Orange herbicide on the Gagetown, N.B., army base where he commanded the Black Watch regiment in the 1960s.

Implausible as it seems today, the Americans were invited to bomb the Canadian base with the poisonous chemical to test it for use in defoliating jungle during the Vietnam War.
By the time Gen. Sellar became ill, the U.S. government had long provided compensation to more than 10,000 Vietnam vets, accepting the link between various cancers and exposure to Agent Orange.

COVERED UP

But in Canada, the military spent 40 years covering up the poisoning at Gagetown and its deadly effects on soldiers stationed there.

All that changed when Gloria Sellar finally won her landmark decision in the late summer of 2004. Or so it seemed.

While Veterans Affairs had finally accepted a “causative relationship between Agent Orange exposure” and Gen. Sellar’s fatal leukemia, no such consideration was extended to the thousands of other soldiers who had served under his command at Gagetown.

Despite her age and her own debilitating bouts with cancer, the amazing woman they just called Gloria spent the next three years lobbying politicians in Ottawa, and helping families in the Maritimes where many of the surviving Gagetown victims still live.

On the frequent occasions we spoke, the tireless octogenarian was always somewhere on the road helping vets, never at her home in Kingston.

“It’s really not very much,” she said with her hallmark modesty the last time we spoke. “I am just trying to be helpful to some wonderful people who are very sick.”

She was right about that.

In the three years since we published her first interview, hundreds of former Gagetown vets have come forward with horror stories of life-long health problems sounding all too similar to those who fought in the jungles of Vietnam.

Hundreds more are already dead.

Finally, on Sept. 12 of last year, Gloria was in the front row at a packed media event near Gagetown to hear Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson announce $90 million of federal compensation to the victims of Agent Orange poisoning.

Even then, at 81, Gloria was far from finished her mission.

Over the past year, she continued to travel wherever there were vets she could help, whether it was in making their compensation claims, or simply bringing comfort to the afflicted.

This Remembrance Day, there are no doubt hundreds of vets and their families paying a special tribute to a very special Canadian who served her country with dignity.

Gloria Sellar died suddenly last week of cancer, herself a victim of the horrible Gagetown tragedy.

She had told everyone not to worry; it was just the flu.

She was 82.