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103-year-old war veteran passes halfway mark on fundraising journey

A 103-year-old Oak Bay veteran has passed the halfway mark on his 103-lap journey to raise money for children affected by the war in Ukraine.
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Oak Bay veteran John Hillman, 103, is joined by kindergarten students from St. Christopher’s Montessori School on the second day of his 10-day fundraising walk for children in Ukraine. JACQUELINE PREWETT, CARLTON HOUSE

A 103-year-old Oak Bay veteran has passed the halfway mark on his 103-lap journey to raise money for children affected by the war in Ukraine.

Since he began on May 2, Hillman has clocked 59 rotations around the courtyard at Carlton House, his independent-living residence, in a bid to raise $103,000 for Save the Children.

So far, he’s raised nearly $60,000 for this year’s effort, which follows similar walkathons for the same charity in 2020 and 2021. To date, he has raised more than $214,800.

The Second World War veteran has been joined by different guests for portions of his walks, including kindergartners from St. Christopher’s Montessori School.

“I think it’s really awesome that he wanted to get kids involved this year because he’s fundraising to benefit children,” said Jacqueline Prewett, manager of digital marketing at Carlton House. “John is an inspiration. He is a great example in our community and I think it’s really great to get kids exposed to that.”

Children, in turn, bring joy to residents of the independent living site, Prewett added.

“It’s been difficult the past couple of years to get children involved on site with residents because of COVID,” she said. “When the kindergartners were walking with John, there was a lot of smiles coming from the residents.”

On Tuesday, Hillman will be joined by 40 Grade 3 students from Glenlyon-Norfolk School and on Wednesday, the Oak Bay High School marching band will pay him a visit.

Prewett is optimistic that Hillman will meet his 103-lap goal.

“He’s actually a lot quicker than people think he is,” she said with a laugh.

To donate, visit John Hillman’s Save the Children page.

ngrossman@timescolonist.com