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Winnipeg veteran, local brewery collaborate on beer; proceeds to help homeless veterans

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A Winnipeg veteran has combined his love for the armed forces and brewing beer to help other veterans.

Mark Goldade recently retired from service and is now a realtor in Winnipeg. He also enjoys the art of crafting beer and exploring new flavours.

"My home brewing goes back to making it in buckets in my basement years ago and I progressed from those little cans that you see for like $10 with the syrup in it, to buying whole grain and making whole-grain beer and tweaking my own recipes," said Goldade.

He said he was at One Great City Brewing Company one day and was talking with the owner about the beer he was making – a Kentish Ale that is made with barley, hops and yeast.

"He said, 'You know what, I'd like to try that. Would you bring me a sample?' So he gave an empty growler, I brought a full growler in and he called his brewers up and they tasted it and were like, 'This is an amazing recipe. We'd love to do this.'"

Goldade said he was so excited to join forces and collaborate with One Great City, but had one condition, that some of the proceeds from the beer would be donated to Homes for Heroes.

They agreed, saying $1 per can would go to the foundation.

Homes for Heroes was started in Calgary and they create villages of tiny homes to help end veteran homelessness.

"Our goal is to provide transitional housing with full wraparound social supports as well. So mental health, job seeking, job placement, counselling sessions and then we transition them into permanent housing," said Brad Field, the president and CEO of Homes for Heroes.

These villages have been constructed in Calgary, and Edmonton and construction is wrapping up in Kingston. Next on the list is Winnipeg, with construction slated to begin in the summer of 2024.

"Between our two villages in Calgary and Edmonton, we've had 83 successful graduates, which is a huge success in our books. That's 83 successful veterans that have moved on to independent living and financial security."

With the agreement between Goldade and One Great City in place, the two got to work and designed a logo and name for the beer – Home is Where the Heart is – and it was ready for distribution for Remembrance Day.

Goldade said they were available for purchase at several legions throughout Winnipeg, as well as on tap at One Great City. After services on Saturday, he said he noticed his beer everywhere.

"So it turns out people showed up in droves for Remembrance Day. Well, they also drank my beer in droves. When I was in the legion for Remembrance Day, I'm looking around and my beer cans were everywhere. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that every one of those cans is another dollar towards Homes for Heroes," said Goldade.

Tim Hudek is the operations manager at One Great City and said the company loved the idea of being able to create this beer and support homeless veterans.

"We really try and celebrate the city. The two owners grew up here, but they left and then came back here because they missed it. So we want to have a positive impact on the community," said Hudek.

"Part of that positive impact is giving back where we can to organizations that are going to help people that are right in our city."

The beer has been a success said Hudek, noting they made around 1,000 cans and they are down to less than 100. It is still available on tap, but he said they went through the product faster than they expected.

'IT'S ALL ABOUT LOCAL BUY-IN'

Hearing about the collaboration and the funds going towards the foundation was great news for Field, who said it's important to have the community involved in supporting veterans.

"It's all about local buy-in and making sure that community in general is in support, which we've had great support in the Winnipeg area," said Field. "We want the local community to take ownership of the village and understand that it's there's."

He added the initiative of one person can be felt by the entire community.

"A single effort or a single initiative from a single person, it propagates. Success breeds success…We're hoping that other people, as they see this in the news, that they think of ways that they can help, in their own way. Help our villages in different parts of Canada."

Field said the hope is to eventually have a Homes for Heroes village in every major hub in every province throughout the country.

"Our end goal is ending homelessness amongst our military veterans in Canada."

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