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WWII paratrooper and Fort Nelson resident honoured on Canada Day

WWII paratrooper and Fort Nelson resident Jack Snyder was presented with the Quilt of Valour at last week's Canada Day festivities in Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.
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RCMP Const. Chance Craig presents WWII veteran and Fort Nelson resident Jack Snyder with Quilt of Valour.

WWII paratrooper and Fort Nelson resident Jack Snyder was presented with the Quilt of  Valour at last week's Canada Day festivities in Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.

At 94 years young, the long-time resident of Fort Nelson was presented with the quilt by RCMP Const. Chance Craig.

Camellia Pratt said she sewed the quilt, "just as a way to say thanks from Canada."

Ever humble, Snyder said he was appreciative of the distinction and the quilt, but at the same time, he is a bit embarrassed.

“I am well established in Fort Nelson,” he said, “and I don't want people to look at me any differently. But I am not shy to put it out on the top of my bed and show it off to anybody close who comes by.”

Snyder was recruited by the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was in high school.

“We all pictured ourselves as fighter pilots, of course,” he said.

But Jack found out shortly after entering the forces that his colour vision was not up to the pilot's standard.

The doctor at the recruitment office suggested he go the route of ground crew, but “I wanted to test myself,” he said. “The infantry weren’t quite as fussy.”

Later when asked, he volunteered for the parachute infantry, later known as paratroopers.

 He says he got a bonus of .75 cents a day for the days he jumped. (That's $1.45 today adjusted for inflation.)

After the war, Snyder operated a trap line for which he still holds the licence today. In the summer he worked construction jobs.

“I'm grateful — don't misunderstand me — but I am also a little bit embarrassed,” he said on receiving the Quilt of Valour. “I don't want some young guy to say you took all that armoured combat, let's go outside and find out how tough you are,” he joked. “It's not that I am ashamed at what I did but I don't like to trade on that.”

dcreporter@dcdn.ca