Victor’s service to Canada started in 1939. Steve’s service began almost five decades later. Both are finding the care they need at St. Joseph’s. We provide inpatient services to veterans of World War II and the Korean War, and outpatient services to veterans, members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP who have operational stress injuries. Learn more about Veterans Care at St. Joseph's Parkwood Institute.
- read Victor Rose's story
- read Steve's story
- watch the inspiring video of the veterns we care for at St. Joseph's
Steve Lamrock and Victor Rose
When Victor Rose joined the military in 1939 at the start of World War II he thought the train he boarded was bound for Quebec. Turns out it was headed for the Maritimes, where Victor and his fellow servicemen departed on the ship Aquatania for Greenoch, Scotland—a long way from home for the 19-year-old.
The next stop for Victor’s regiment was England where he served until 1943. He then went on to serve in Italy, Sicily, France, Belguim and Holland as the European battle raged.
Victor’s fond memories of World War II include receiving a letter from King George VI welcoming his contingent as one of the first Canadian troops in England, and meeting and marrying his British wife Edna Betty while he was in England.
But a shadow crosses Victor’s face when he recalls other memories. Memories like sleeping in foxholes full of water in freezing weather conditions, witnessing singed and ravaged towns, eating donkey meat, and drinking water from vehicles’ radiators because the enemy had polluted all fresh water sources. ”I went through those tough times for the sake of my country,” he says.
“Through it all we tried to look on the bright side,” Victor says. “Our standing joke was that we were seeing the world for $1.30 a day. That may not seem like much money today, but at the time a loaf of bread was 5 cents and a quart of milk 10 cents.”
Victor returned home from the war in 1945 with Edna Betty coming to Canada after their daughter Frances was born. “When I first saw my little girl she was already three months old,” he recalls. Four years later Victor and Edna Betty welcomed a son they named Richard.
After the war, Victor worked at Labatt’s where they ramped up production to quench the thirst of the troops returning home from war. Next he worked with Veterans Affairs Canada (then known as the Department of Veterans Affairs) at Westminster Hospital and the Psychiatric Institute, followed by a position as a messenger with the Bank of Montreal.
Though his involvement with the Royal Canadian Legion Victory Branch 317, Victor was instrumental in raising funds at for the Thames Valley Children’s Centre and for seniors at the Dearness Home. He was recognized for his efforts with a Queens Jubilee Medal for community service which he proudly wears with his 9 career medals and 10 legion medals.
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened Parkwood Hospital’s Western Counties Wing (WCW) in 1989 Victor was there as a proud Legion representative. For many years he escorted the Silver Cross mother in the wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph in Victoria Park on Remembrance Day. This year Victor is on Parkwood’s Remembrance Day Committee and will be laying the wreath on behalf of the veterans who live at Parkwood.
Victor has served his country and community for most of his life. Today he lives at WCW where we are honoured to serve him and other veterans from World War II and the Korean War.
Steve Lamrock grew up listening to his Dutch mother’s stories about the brave Canadians who liberated Holland in World War II. From the time he was five years old, he knew he wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces so he could help others too.
He did just that as soon as he turned 18. In Canada Steve’s service included helping in crisis situations like the Oka land dispute, the flood in Winnipeg and the Quebec ice storm.
This service was interspersed with tours of duty lasting from six to eight months each which saw Steve posted to the Gulf War, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
While Steve was fulfilling his lifelong dream of serving Canadians, his mental health began unravelling. He recalls his tour in Croatia in 1994 with the United Nations Peacekeeping operations further eroded his mental health. “It was frustrating because as Peacekeepers our hands were tied,” he says. “We saw many atrocities but couldn’t take any action to stop the cruelty.” He adds his two tours in Afghanistan compounded his mental health issues.
In 2004 when Steve returned to Meaford to teach infantry training he couldn’t sleep and his anger was out of control. “When my daughter accidently spilled a coffee I went into a rage and tore the outside door off our house,” Steve recalls. “I knew I needed help.”
In 2006 that help arrived during a chance meeting with Laryssa Underhill, the family peer support coordinator with the Operational Stress Injury Support System. “She was concerned about my condition and asked if I was willing to see someone – I said yes,” says Steve.
Steve travelled from his home in Meaford to the Operational Stress Injury Clinic (OSIC) at Parkwood Hospital to get that help. “Once I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the flood gates opened, my world came apart, and I crumbled,” Steve says. He credits psychiatrist Dr. Don Richardson and clinical nurse specialist Nancy Cameron from the OSIC, as well as psychologist Tim Hill from Owen Sound with his recovery. Members of the OSIC often work with local care providers such as Tim to ensure clients receive the care they need close to home.
Steve also recognizes the important role the support of his parents, friends and children played in his recovery. In October, he held a surprise ceremony for his daughters Kayla, 20 and Brittany, 16 to thank them for believing in him as he worked through his PTSD. Family, friends, and Laryssa’s children Caelan and Nolan also attended the ceremony."
Nancy echoes the importance of family support, saying “This family demonstrated not only the strong interdisciplinary approach to treatment we were able to use but also the healing impact of dealing with the entire family,”
“When I first started experiencing mental health issues I was in denial,” says Steve. “The best thing I can tell a person in a similar situation to do is also the hardest: admit you need help. Taking this first step will get you to a better place in life.”
Steve retired from the military in 2009. Now 46, he says, “Laryssa saved my life by referring me to the OSIC." But their relationship didn’t end there. In a romantic twist to the story, the two fell in love and are engaged to be married. “I’m happier now than I’ve been in 20 years,” says Steve.