‘He was not just my interpreter’: Veteran helped Afghan and his family resettle in Canada

Author of the article: Kellen Taniguchi Publishing date: Nov 09, 2021

Stephen Peddle near his St. Albert home on Tuesday. Nov. 9, 2021. Peddle recently retired from a 28-year career with the Canadian military after assisting interpreter Sangeen Abdul Mateen and his family to come to Canada. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

For one retired veteran, helping Afghan refugees evacuate the country that’s now under Taliban control is an issue that hits close to home.

Stephen Peddle, 47, served in the Canadian military for 28 years, including two missions on the ground in Afghanistan — one in 2007 and another in 2012. He left the service in 2019.

Peddle got involved with the current Afghan refugee crisis to help his former interpreter, Sangeen Abdul Mateen, who served on the ground with him in 2007, get his family members to safety.

“He was not just my interpreter, not just my friend, but my cultural adviser while I was in Afghanistan who I credit with helping keep myself and my comrades alive,” said Peddle, who added the interpreter helped him integrate into Afghan culture and was able to pick up whether danger was nearby.

So far, Peddle has helped evacuate 12 of Mateen’s 13 family members who were stuck in Afghanistan. Mateen came to Canada in 2012 and became a master electrician. Peddle said Mateen now owns a successful commercial business in Oshawa, Ont., where he and his family now reside.

Peddle said one of Mateen’s brothers is still in hiding from the Taliban and they are working on getting him to Canada.Peddle said Mateen’s father was a senior officer in the Afghan National Army and if he would have been found by the Taliban, he likely would have been executed for helping Canada.

In 2007, Peddle served in Kandahar where he worked with about 500 Afghan soldiers mentoring them on the “fine art of war.” Peddle said he wouldn’t have been able to do his job without Mateen translating his words to the soldiers.

“These are the Afghans that helped us,” said Peddle. “These are the ones that made it as safe as they could for us while we were there. So, I do feel a sense of obligation as well. We packed up and left and some of them are still stuck there under a very evil regime.”

Peddle is a fourth-generation soldier after his grandfather served in the First World War. He said serving has been a family legacy based on his beliefs — he believes in Canada, all the values that encapsulates what makes us Canadian and protecting those values at home, but also exporting those ideals abroad.

“It’s representing Canada on the world stage and that’s what it really means to me to be a soldier. It is to exemplify the best of what our society represents,” he said.

Peddle’s efforts have been noticed by the Order of St. George and he will be officially “knighted” in Burnaby, B.C., next Sunday.

Allan Plett, knight commander and prior of the Order of St. George Cascadia Priory, said he will be using his blessed sword to official knight Peddle as a field knight because he meets the criteria and beyond.

“It’s an honorary rank for anybody, veteran or civilian, that goes above and beyond the call of duty in the area of community service,” said Plett. “In this case, that community service was a military or veteran community service doing something that was just plain the right thing to do because he knew how to do it.”Peddle said being able to do something positive for the Afghans that have helped Canadians lifts him up and makes veterans feel a lot better about what has happened over there which is why the Order of St. George struck a chord with him.

In partnership with True Patriot Love, the Order of St. George has launched the “Afghan Interpreter Resettlement and Veterans Mental Health Campaign” which aims to raise money to help relocate Afghan interpreters and support the mental health of veterans which Plett says has taken a hit since the recent “total abandonment of Afghanistan.”

Goal: $50,000 by December 31st, 2021
Raised: $35,566 as of November 12th, 2021
Anyone who wants to donate to the campaign can do so at orderstgeorge.ca/.

Below are some of the media links to the story. The CBC one is the best as it has two great photos of Stephen. 

Some of the Canadian Press media pick-up: 

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/11/11/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule.html

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule-1.5662030

https://www.cp24.com/news/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule-1.5662038

https://ottawa.citynews.ca/local-news/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule-4748637

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-193713637.html

https://themontrealtimes.com/2021/11/11/un-veteran-canadien-aide-un-interprete-afghan-et-sa-famille-a-echapper-au-regime-des-talibans-2/

https://lethbridgenewsnow.com/2021/11/11/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule/

https://cfjctoday.com/2021/11/11/canadian-veteran-helps-afghan-interpreter-and-his-family-escape-taliban-rule/

4th Annual Canadian Walk for Veterans

Walk in the 4th Annual

Canadian Walk for Veterans

September 25 & 26, 2021

Register Now

Cascadia Priory supports the Canadian Walk for Veterans 2021. The annual Canadian Walk for Veterans is hosted by One Veteran Society and invites Canadians to walk shoulder to shoulder in recognition of our military, veterans and first responders. Our primary goal is to provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn about the challenges of coping with life after service. Our secondary goal is our fundraising efforts through modest registration fees, donations and sponsorships.  Eighty percent of each year’s net proceeds go to organizations that are working hard to provide veterans and first responders with support, rehabilitation services and the tools they need to cope. Most importantly these organizations provide hope and bring a sense of purpose back into the lives of those who need it. The remaining twenty percent of net proceeds is retained to cover administrative costs such as website maintenance, etc.  Wherever possible we support veteran-owned businesses such as Majaid Web Solutions who manage our website and Dracks Military Plaques Inc., manufacturer of our annual pewter challenge coins.

We are extremely grateful to our many supporters and members of our team of dedicated volunteers whose only compensation is the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping and honouring those who fought for and continue to fight for our freedom and Canadian way of life.

June 19, 2021 – Cascadia Prior Recognized as Honourary Metis

June 19 2021, Chevalier Allan Plett, KCStG, the Prior of Cascadia Priory, received Honorable recognition as a Metis by Metis Elder, Grandmother Suzanne Thomadis, when she gifted him with a Metis sash at the celebration of Life for Chevalier Larry Arkell.

Dame Carolyn Orazietti, Metis Elder and Chevalier Allan Plett, KCStG
Cascadia Postulant Joy Dockrey and Chevalier Allan Plett, KCStG

Cascadia Priory Change of Prior April 2021

KGCStG Steven Mohns retired as Prior of Cascadia Priory in April 2021. While we are sorry to see him step down, we recognize that family obligations take precedence over Priory needs and we are just glad to keep him in the Cascadia family.

Meanwhile, we wholeheartedly welcome KCStG Allan Plett, our previous Deputy Prior as he steps up to take on the leadership challenges of the Cascadia Priory.

Steven Mohns, Knight Grand Cross Order of St George
Allan Plett, Knight Commander Order of St George and Cascadia Prior

Cascadia Priory Promotions October 2020

In October 2020, Chevalier Steven Mohns was promoted to Knight Grand Cross Order of St George (KGCStG).

Chevalier Steven Mohns Knight Grand Cross Order of St George
The Knight Grand Cross Order of St George is the most senior rank and consists of the Insignia of The Order and is suspended beneath the bow of the Grand Cross sash.

Chevalier Allan Plett was also promoted to Knight Commander Order of St George (KCStG ) and Dame Melanie Graham was promoted to Dame Commander Order of St George (DCStG).

 

Chevalier Allan Plett – Knight Commander Order of St George and Prior of Cascadia Priory
Dame Melanie Graham – Dame Commander Order of St George and Communications Officer Cascadia Priory
Commander:
The decoration of the second rank is based on the Maltese Cross, or the Amalfi Cross.
Knights: The Commander Breast Star is worn low on the left breast, just below the lower seam of the handkerchief pocket, together with the Neck Order.
Dames: The Commander Breast Star is worn on the left side just above waist height, together with the Neck or Bow Order.

In Memoriam: Chevalier Larry Arkell

Chevalier Larry Arkell Lost to us May 12, 2021 at 7:30 PM. RIP

Chevalier Larry Arkell, Veteran and Knight of the Order of St George passed from this world the evening of May 12, 2021 at 7:30 PM. His last days were spent in the palliative care unit Laurel Place in Surrey, British Columbia. Larry’s life was one of service. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces as an anti-submarine weapons officer. He also served as a volunteer on the ski patrol at Mt Washington near Comox British Columbia. A philosopher (BA University of Victoria) Larry also served as a line social worker for 13 years, and self-identified as Metis, becoming a respected voice of the Metis community in Surrey (Living Historian). His loss is lamented by his friends, family, and community, including Suzanne, Joy, Brian, Louis, Richard, Steve, Caroline, Chelsea, Shelly, Allan and many more too numerous to mention here. Larry loved his Yamaha Maxim Motorcycle and in a last act of service to others donated it to Cascadia Priory to fund raise for two PTSD Service dogs. He was a warrior, a man steadfast in his beliefs, and a tireless champion of the needy. Rest in Peace my fine friend.

It was my Privilege and Honour to sign Larry’s Postulant Application to the Order of St George. He embodied the attributes of chivalry that are the foundation of the Order. A man of many talents, history, understanding and culture beyond his own, he brought blessings to all he met.

I will always remember our conversation the day he passed, the both of us deep in the history of the Plains Archaic People, the origins of Canada and the North West Mounted Police in the West.

Travel well, be guided by the ancestors and the Great Makers Love.

Steven Mohns KGCStG
Cascadia Priory

~

As Prior of Cascadia Priory and on behalf of our members I lament that our numbers are sadly reduced by the loss of a most honorable soul, Chevalier Larry Arkell. This true Knight has departed the world to “Rest in Peace” in the beyond. Larry was a Gentleman’s Gentleman. I was absolutely overjoyed when he accepted my invitation to become a Knight of the Order of St George and he quickly proved resolute in his dedication to the mission of the Order. As a member of Cascadia Priory and indeed the Order he will never be forgotten.

In the Spirit of St George
Allan Plett CD KCStG
Prior, Cascadia Priory

~

On behalf of all the Knights and Dames of the Order of St. George, we owe a debt of gratitude to Chevalier Larry Arkell for his service to the Order and his dedication in the service to others.  We wish him a pleasant journey on the next stage of his travels…..God bless.

Charles R. Hill, KGCStG
Grand Prior – Canada & The America’s
The Order of St. George

APPOINTMENT OF NEW BRITISH COLUMBIA REGIMENT ASSOCIATION PADRE

It is our pleasure to announce the appointment of Captain (Ret’d) The Reverend Gordon Barrett as our new BCR Association Padre.  Padre Gord is no stranger to the Regiment, having officiated for many years at our Perpetuated Battalions Parade at the PNE at the 29th Bn CEF Monument.  For those members of long standing, our last appointed BCR Association Padre was Major Harry Lennox, who was a veteran of both World Wars, who passed away at the age of 97 years shortly after officiating our St Julien Church Parade in April 1997.

Capt (Ret’d) Gord Barrett started his service with the BC Regiment as our founding Pipe-Major of the BCR Irish Pipes & Drums, a post that he held from 1990 until 2007.  The Association at that time appointed him as the Honorary Captain and Director of Music of the Pipe Band.  He was appointed an Honorary Captain by the 15 Fd Association to serve as the volunteer Chaplin at 15 Fd from 2009 until 2011, where he offered counsel and support to the Gunners and retired members.  In 2012, Capt Barrett next joined the Cadet Instructors Cadre at 2472 15th Field Artillery RCACC and was the Commanding Officer of that unit from 2017 until his retirement from the CAF in June 2020.  He continues to serve that unit as a Civilian Instructor in the capacity of Administration Officer.

For over twenty-five years, Captain Barrett has organized the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Head Office of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in North Vancouver, where he was formerly employed. These events are attended by the veteran community, with special acknowledgement given to current and retired ICBC employees who serve(d) in the CAF, and he has also assisted at other commemorative ceremonies in the community, at which he has acted as both an emcee and chaplain. These have included remembrance services for the Korean War Veterans Association and for the over 300 War Veterans residing at the George Derby Centre.

Captain (Ret’d.) Gord Barrett continues to work with Dr. Marv Westwood and the Counselling Psychology Programme (UBC) in the exploration of trauma in the military.  These projects have included the impact of Secondary Trauma on caregivers and Inter-generational Trauma where the impact of war is passed on to the children and grandchildren of military personnel who have died or returned home from war as veterans.

In recognition of his lifelong service to the veteran community and the people of British Columbia, Capt (Ret’d) Barrett has been recognised most recently with his investiture into the Order of St George.

Captain (Ret’d.) Barrett grew up in East Vancouver where he attended Vancouver Technical High School. He attended Langara College where he was awarded an Associate of Arts & Sciences Diploma.  Captain Barrett also holds a Diploma in Business Administrative Systems (BCIT), a Diploma in Theology from The University of the South, a Master of Education (UBC), a Master of Arts (UBC), and a Master of Divinity from Carey Theological College.  His hobbies include astronomy, Amateur Radio (VE7 TKF), cycling, agility training for dogs, and teaching the playing of bagpipes.  He holds Black Belts in both Kung Fu and Karate and continues to teach Kung Fu.   Captain (Ret.) the Reverend Barrett serves as a Deacon at All Saints Anglican Church, Burnaby and will retire as Regional Dean in the Diocese of New Westminster on 15 May 2021 after serving the maximum 3 terms allowed.

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