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Hasty Ps ‘ruck’ 100kms to Picton for Wounded Warriors Canada

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Four members of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, known fondly as the Hasty Ps, set off last week from Cobourg on a 100-plus kilometre ‘ruck’ to Picton.

It is 100 kilometres they won’t soon forget, and while temperatures dipped just below freezing overnight, they were welcomed at their final destination Thursday, with warm sunshine.

The four-member Plough Jockeys team, consisted mainly of Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stokes, Master Corporal Sean Francis, Corporal Chad Wilson and Private Dave Kervin with a few others swapping out along the route. A military ‘ruck’ involves travelling many miles with a 50-pound plus backpack, or rucksack.

Marching for 24 hours, the team was attired in full fighting order with ruck, webbing, helmet and simulated weight, weighing more than 50 pounds.

The purpose of the ruck was to raise funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors Canada, where proceeds will be used for on-going mental health programs for ill and injured veterans, first responders, and their families.

At around 11.30 a.m. Thursday, the team arrived at the Prince Edward County Fire and Rescue on McDonald Drive, where a gleaming row of fire trucks, with lights flashing, Fire Chief Scott Manlow, and staff, greeted the team.

Private Dave Kervin described the 100-kilometre ruck as very tough.

The team kept going for 24 hours, although they did have scheduled brief breaks at various legions, police stations and fire departments along the way.

“The fire department was so warm and welcoming,” Kervin said, as were the police department and legions.

He also noted the welcome presence of the police following the team along the way.

“They are all fantastic individuals, and people just supporting us, honking their horns along the way, giving us a wave, gave a boost and helped morale,” he said. “It was great to see.”

Before arriving in Prince Edward County, stops along the way, primarily along Highway 2, included several Royal Canadian Legion branches, including Grafton Legion branch 580, Colborne Legion branch 187; Brighton Legion branch 100 and Trenton Legion branch 110. They also stopped at the Brighton Fire Department, Brighton Police Department, Trenton Memorial Hospital, and the Belleville Police Department.

“We went to a pretty strict schedule, and we kept on track for the most part,” Kervin said.

However, they did have to swap out a few members along the route, due to aches and pains.

“That happens in this kind of event,” say Kervin. “We are born soldiers and so we push on through to complete the entire 100 kilometres.”

“Collectively, we got the job done,” he added, “and that’s part of the team work.”

As infantries, carrying a heavy load into battle is part of the job he says.

“So we bring everything we need to sustain ourselves for at least 72 hours at times, so having the weight, that’s pretty much all that we would need going into battle.”

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, while not freezing, was cold, but Kervin said they were happy it wasn’t raining.

“It got down a bit chilly and the wind was cold,” said Kervin, “but for moving and keeping on the go, you stay warm and the temperatures where pretty good for this sort of event.”

Thursday was also the regimental birthday of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment celebrating its 100th anniversary.

“It was part of the significance of ending the walk at noon today,” he said.

“I am absolutely glad I did it,” Kervin said, adding he would do it again – after a good rest.

“This group of guys, super fantastic team and very supportive and I couldn’t ask for better comradery between the four of us.”

The group then heading made its way to the Belleville Armouries for a Change of Command Parade.

The effort raised $4650 in the end, surpassing the $4,000 goal. Donations to the Wounded Warriors of Canada fund can be made at GoHastyP.com/WoundedWarriors

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