Retired Engineer with the Canadian Armed Forces gives back at Veterans Memorial Building

Volunteer with resident of the Veterans Memorial Building
Volunteer, Brian Neyedli, reads the newspaper with veteran and resident of the Veterans Memorial Building, Gordon McMillan.

Having served 39 years as a construction engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces and three years with a federal Crown corporation, Brian Neyedli decided to fully retire. With that came a pile of free time. He was interested in volunteering to give back to his community, but didn’t know what avenue to take. 

A longtime friend of his daughter expressed that volunteering in health care, specifically in the Veterans Memorial Building (VMB), might be the right fit for him, given his military background. 

“It is by happy circumstances that I came to volunteer in health care, more particularly with Canada’s precious veterans,” said Brian Neyedli. “It has provided me with a glimpse into the scope and importance of volunteers to the delivery of health care and the people being served.” 

As recreation program assistant for the last 20 months and 17 months in the chapel escort program, you can find Neyedli spending most of his time with residents in the secure unit of VMB and at special events like Christmas, Remembrance Day and unit BBQs. Most of his time is dedicated to one-on-one interactions with veterans. 

What he does depends on each individual veteran on a given day, and their cognitive and physical capacities. They may go for walks in the Veterans Garden, play games or do puzzles, look through family photo albums or just chat. Brian spends most of his time with the same four or five veterans seeing two to three a day, but is known well throughout the 25-resident unit. 

“When Brian enters the unit his positive presence is noticed by so many of the Veterans and staff,” said Ashley MacMullin, recreation therapy associate. “The Veterans often refer to Neyedli as “their friend” and wave him over as soon as he is spotted. His commitment and dedication to the Veterans, as well as his caring approach, result in very sincere interactions.”

Neyedli understands and demonstates the importance of delivering person centered care and helps establish these positive relationships throughout his time volunteering. VMB is lucky to have him lend a friendly hand.