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Float delivers safety message

War Amps charity celebrates 95 years of service

The annual Steveston Salmon Festival parade brims over with colour, sights and sounds as it winds its way through the historic fishing village each July 1st.

And this year is no exception, but will have the added feature of a milestone anniversary for one of the participants, which delivers an annual message to "play safe" and "drive safe."

This year, the War Amps marks its 95th year of existence.

Since 1918, the nation-wide registered charitable organization founded by amputee war veterans returning home from the First World War offers assistance to all Canadian amputees, including children, to improve their quality of life, provide education on the latest in artificial limbs, and raise awareness about issues as diverse as the experiences and abilities of amputees, child safety and Canada's military heritage.

This year's Salmon Festival float will feature some local members of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. Among them will be Richmond's Owen Greaves, 11, and eight-year-old James Kwaksistala.

The colourful, animated float they will be riding on with other CHAMP members is specially designed to capture the attention of children, with ASTAR, the gold robot from Planet Danger, reminding all he can put his arm back on but they can't.

To further reinforce the message, the Champs shout out the "play safe" message to kids and the "drive safe" message to adults along the parade route.

"In addition to passing on the safety message, the float this year is also a reminder that The War Amps has been part of the Canadian landscape for almost a century now and will continue to be there for these children and all amputees in Canada," said Rob Larman, Director of PLAYSAFE/DRIVESAFE, who himself lost a leg at the age of 14 when friends dared him to jump a train.

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