The horrors of war

My husband served and saw the horrors of war at first hand, notably in Holland at the end of WW II, and he visited Sunnybrook Veterans’ wing often to see his brother during a long illness.

He spent many hours with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren trying to ensure that they never forgot and never repeated the terrible days of war. He used John McDermott’s music as a way of introducing the kids to the reality of war in contrast to the glory often portrayed in popular music and film.

His favourite was the song about the legless Australian veteran. Everyone wept.

In my husband’s memory, I want to thank all who serve and it seems appropriate that it should be somehow related to John McDermott whose music was such an inspiration.

Karen Riehm


Wanting to repay a kind man in the lift at the Sandman Hotel…

I met a Scottish man by the name of John McDermott, in a lift at the Sandman hotel about 10 weeks ago. He told me he was a musician who sang Irish music. He said his family where originally from County Donnegal in the Irish Republic. I mentioned my experience of County Claire,  and that of living in bonny Scotland. (I’m an Englishman with a passion for British culture including that of the Gaelic folk music).

This kind man offered me free tickets to his concert, but I had to decline, as I was revising for a airbrake endorsement test. This kind man gave me a CD of his and refused my attempts to pay him for it! (Very kind).

However, i have been brought up to repay acts of kindness. After making enquiries, I’ve found his website, which has led me to this website of McDermott house. I’m so glad to have made this discovery as ‘being an ex serviceman’ (former Royal Marine) I am obliged to repay this act of kindness with a donation.

Thank you so much for your act of kindness and i wish you every success for the future. Best of luck with this charity foundation.

Shaun Halliwell, Wigan, UK


This Texan cares…

I live in Texas, but I am a donor to McDermott House Canada. That’s one way I can thank the men and women who fought and still fight for my freedom and those who have protected me and continue to protect me from harm.

John’s concern for veterans and first responders has not only rubbed off on me, but also has brought back memories of my childhood. To me, WWII is still THE WAR, because it became the center of my life from age ten to fourteen—formative years. Life changed for everyone. We did what we could for the war effort, and we did without when necessary. I don’t remember any grumbling. I do remember praying for our men and women in the service of our country.

During those war years, when we heard convoys driving through town, my cousin and I would run to a close main highway to watch them. We saw different kinds of trucks and many open jeeps carrying young men. My memory tells me they were always Army troops. I can still picture the khaki color of the vehicles and military uniforms.

Just two young girls, we waved until the last vehicle passed. The soldiers never failed to smile and wave back.

I’ve now made many trips to Canada and Florida to attend John’s concerts. One of my fondest recollections is when I had the privilege to attend a Christmas Concert at MHC. Not as lengthy or as fancy as a regular concert, it was most impressive. John’s calling patients by name and patients freely requesting aloud their favorite songs touched my heart. It confirmed the closeness between John and the audience from K-Wing.

I hope this reminds everyone to say thanks and do what they can to help our veterans and first responders.


I am an American mother whose son and daughter served in Iraq…

I am an American mother whose son and daughter served in Iraq and Afghanistan as have so many Canadians. My father served in the Pacific in World War II.

I support McDermott House Canada because we’re on this earth together, and, as Christ taught, we’re to love our neighbors as ourselves. John McDermott’s vision and dedication gave me a kick-start to doing what I can to help veterans rather than drowning in the stresses that war and PTSD and trauma puts on families. His cross-national compassion fills me with hope that when the time comes that my children may need palliative care there will be such a warm and home-like facility for them, wherever they may live, because the success of McDermott House Canada will shine like a beacon for others to emulate.

Since all my siblings share a birthday month with Mr. McDermott, I have chosen to give an annual donation in March as a birthday tribute. I hope to increase my donation each year, and pray for the staff and residents regularly.

Susan Walters