The Algonquin College food court is where community members recently found David Carty, a 20-year military veteran who was a police army captain for the Canadian Armed Forces.
He meticulously set up a table for the Royal Canadian Legion with bright red poppies, wristbands, a donation box, a tap machine, family army medals and an album of 105 years of military family history.
At 75 years old, Carty is marking 50 years working for the Royal Canadian Legion. He was in four legions around the country and has been a past president and officer.
Since 2015, for two weeks before Remembrance Day, Carty has located the Royal Canadian Legion table at the college food court, where waves of college staff and students curiously pass by.
“I enjoy the poppy thing. I enjoy it more in the City of Ottawa and at Algonquin College because of the international community,” he said. “I have met people that have been in places where I’ve been and so we have that one little moment in time when we have things in common.”
Carty began his career in policing with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police before moving to municipal policing. Then, one day, he spotted a recruiter in Fredericton City Hall, where he initiated his military application.
“Later that year, I was accepted to the military, where I went through their basic training program,” he said. “I moved quickly in the ranks from private through the ward officer in eight years.”
Carty did tours for the United Nations and became a sergeant major in charge of the police company for NATO’s head office in Belgium.
“I had 14 different nations working for me. So the language things were interesting, talking to people and making sure there was clarity,” Carty said with a smile.
“Of course, I had come to enjoy the training very much, having spent four years in a ward officers leaders management school and working with and training young officers as well. The career was very fulfilling,” said Carty. “I realized that I had spent 11 1/2 of my 20 years in the military away from home.”
He came to Algonquin College because his wife was an alumna. They moved around a lot in the Ottawa region.
Carty has effortlessly connected with the college community and has had a grand time showing and talking about the large body of pictures of his dad’s ships and his mother’s service in the Second World War.
Carty said he is familiar with drawing people from other birth origins or family histories to join in the day of remembrance.
He enjoys sharing personal experiences and explaining the importance of a day of remembrance with the staff and young people. He also encourages people to access information from Library and Archives Canada.
“If you have anybody that’s ever served, you, too, can search this history and find out things you never knew because of the quiet nature of people who suffered physically or emotionally because of the drastic nature of conflagration,” Carty said.
Carty feels this year was a lot busier and the fundraising campaign fundraiser went very well, especially with the tap machine, which enables debit and credit payments.
“I seem to have had individual conversations with students and staff at a greater number because some of them know me and step in and say hi and discussion starts from there,” he said. “It makes me very happy to attend.”
The Royal Canadian Legion, one of the country’s largest support and community service organizations for veterans, was founded in 1925. The non-profit organization spans the country.
The legion commemorates the men and women who died in the military service of Canada during war and peace.
“It’s a little bit of history that a lot of people get caught up in the day-to-day and don’t reflect backward on how they got where they are today,” Carty said, noting he would “like to do it again for as long as the good Lord will let me.”