Decorated Halifax veteran finally moves into Camp Hill after year-long battle
Published Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:37PM ADT
After a long and public fight with Veterans Affairs, decorated Halifax veteran Petter Blindheim was officially admitted to the Camp Hill Veterans Memorial hospital on Wednesday.
At the age of 94, Blindheim is aware the Camp Hill hospital will be his final home, and it was quite a fight to get him there.
For more than a year, the Second World War veteran was turned away on a technicality; he enlisted in his native “Norway” when it was occupied by the Nazis.
According to Veterans Affairs, that made him a “resistance fighter” – not an allied soldier.
“A ship I was on was torpedoed outside of Newfoundland,” says Blindheim. “So there are still people out there who say I’m a veteran, but Veterans Affairs says, ‘No you’re not.’”
In another case, the wife of a Korean war veteran says she’s finally satisfied her husband will also be admitted to Camp Hill when his Alzheimer’s is no longer manageable at home.
Battling early-onset Alzheimer’s and a host of health conditions, John Smith is cautious about his apparent acceptance to Camp Hill.
After a long battle that tested their faith in Veterans Affairs, his wife returned with a note from their Liberal MP on Tuesday, suggesting he’d be eligible for a bed.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s really going to happen after all this time,” says Smith’s wife, Eileen.
While all of this is good news for those families, neither can quite understand how their loved ones got in, and the department doesn’t seem anxious to explain it.
“Well, I’m not in there yet,” says Smith.
In a news release on Friday, the Veterans Affairs minister announced a partnership with the local health authority, along with a government review. He acknowledged the 50-year-old regulations were neither “compassionate” nor “flexible.”
On Monday afternoon, the department told CTV News those regulations weren’t on the table.
Even with 94 years of living under his belt, Blindheim can’t quite explain the change of heart. However, as he settles in to what will be his final home, he and his family say they have one more small victory to savour.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.