Author of the article: Kellen Taniguchi Publishing date: Nov 09, 2021
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.
“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.
The campaign was completed on December 31st, 2021, and raised $54,046 to be disbursed to the True Patriot Love Foundation Afghan Resettlement Fund, which will “be distributed across Canada to local organizations working directly with Afghan refugees and their families as they adapt to life in Canada, providing support for legal costs, housing, language training, mental health supports, employment and education training and more.”
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: