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The War Amps celebrates 100th anniversary in 2018 (4 photos)

The organization hopes their century-long legacy of 'amputees helping amputees' will continue long into the future
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An organization founded by amputees returning from World War One is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

On September 23, 1918, the Amputation Club of British Columbia held their first meeting. Eventually several groups of war amputees amalgamated to form The War Amps.

The group's Nova Scotia representative Tim Verney said the goal was to support each other while adjusting to civilian life.

"They wanted to get on with their lives the best they could, same as anybody else coming back from the war, so they banded together to support each other in that endeavour and try to take back their lives, and they did," he explained. "When they realized they could pass that on to the next generation, that's exactly what they tried to do."

Shortly after World War Two, the organization's popular Key Tag Service launched in 1946, which helped create jobs for war amputees and raise money. To date, over 1.5 million people have been reunited with their lost keys thanks to the program.

Verney said that, along with their Address Label Service, is the main source of funding for The War Amps.

"There is no government funding, we are a non-government organization," he said. "We do work hard to make life better for civilian and former service amputees."

In addition to helping protect the rights of amputee veterans, the group also has worked to address inequalities that all Canadian amputees face.

In 1975, The War Amps started focusing on young amputees, launching their CHAMP program.

Verney got involved as a child a few years after its debut and called it "life changing." As he grew older, he stayed on as a volunteer to help others.

"We help provide recreational limbs for champs that aren't covered through provincial funding, so they can take part in floor hockey, they can go skiing, or play the violin or whatever," he said. "We want kids to be able to do what kids do; learn, play and grow." 

The War Amps Atlantic CHAMP seminar will be held in Halifax this year. In July, around 60 child amputees and their parents will come to the city for weekend sessions.

"Kids get to talk about what bugs them, there's sessions for the parents on how to cope with whatever they've gone through, and the biggest part is the peer support program."

The War Amps hopes their century-long legacy of "amputees helping amputees" will continue long into the future.




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