In an effort to show support and create community for veterans in the Comox Valley, the sixth annual Walk for Veterans will be held in September.
According to organizer Wade Wick, the walk’s purpose is to connect the veterans to their community and vice versa to help them reintegrate to civilian life after spending years in the military.
“A lot of us find that when we leave the military, we lose our place and our belonging,” said Wick. “This has been a way to outreach into the communities and say ‘this is us here in town, we’re looking to connect, this is our interest, this is what we do.’
He adds this year’s walk will focus beyond the members and their contributions as they look to talk about the families and support they give to members.
In an email statement, Wick says families play a critical role in enhancing the wellbeing of military personnel and veterans.
“All military families, they go through a lot. So this year’s focus of the walk is ‘Heroes of the Homefront’,” said Wick. “So, it’s in recognition of all the families and the struggles they go through as well when we’re deployed and gone away.
“It’s really hard on families and the coming and going of the military lifestyle.”
Wick adds the proceeds from this year’s walk will be donated to the Military Family Resource Centre to provide another connection point for veterans and community members.
From Wick’s personal experience, the walk is very beneficial and helped him overcome PTSD and other effects of serving in the military.
“It connected me to a different organization of Operation Pegasus jump,” he said. “I met a few fellows there who were doing the walk and it just connected us into a broader aspect of belonging and sense of awareness and then it gave us a lot of help.
“I’m a 20-year veteran myself. I was released with PTSD from two tours in Afghanistan. I have a service dog and I stand out in town, but I didn’t really have a place.”
He says the walk gives them a place to reach out and find people who are willing to help during difficult times.
The walk will be held on Sept. 23 at the Courtenay Riverway from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is a $25 registration fee.
Wick adds that any veteran support programs are important to support and ensuring awareness is spread about the issues veterans and their families go through.