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Ride to support veterans visiting Quinte area communities

Meeting-soldier-at-CFB-Shilo

Paul Nichols meets a soldier during the ride.

Veteran Paul Nichols began the ride in mid-April to increase awareness and funding support for veterans

By Ross Lees
More than 700 veterans and serving Canadian Armed Forces members are expected to join Paul Nichols by the time he completes a seven-month, cross-Canada horseback ride to support veterans and their families.

In mid-April, veteran Paul Nichols, of Quesnel, and his wife Terry, officially launched the Communities for Veterans Foundation (CVF) ride across Canada to raise awareness and funding to support veterans and to say thank you to the men and women who sacrifice so much for their country. The launch was held at a ceremony with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon at the BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria.

Paul-speaks-in-front-of-17-Wing-HeadquartersThe CVF will be riding through Brighton along Hwy 2 about mid-day on Aug. 18. That same evening at 7 p.m., there will be a short ceremony of remembrance and blessing at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial in Bain Park, Trenton. The CVF riders, joined by Silver Cross Mother Darlene Cushman, will move from the parking lot by the National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC down RCAF Road to Bain Park at approx. 6:45 p.m.
Following the ceremony, at approx. 7:40 p.m. the CVF Riders will move north on RCAF Rd, then east along Hamilton Road to finish at 413 (A/S Leonard Birchall) Wing Air Force Association of Canada (AFAC) at 230 North Murray St. for a meet and greet. Wing personnel and the general public is encouraged to show support as the riders pass and are welcome to attend both these free events. The public is invited to meet Paul and Terry, share stories and be a part of changing the face of Canadian veterans.

Donations to the CVF will be gratefully accepted at the AFAC location.
Jack Connolly has confirmed he will perform a short musical set at the meet and greet. He wrote and performed a song about Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

The ride is to pass through Prince Edward County on the Millenium Trail on Aug. 19 (Brighton to Wellington) with lunch in Consecon and dinner at the Wellington Legion. On the 20th the ride moves from Wellington, over the Glenora Ferry to Amherstview.  Veterans from the local Quinte area will be accompanying him on his ride through the County.

Paul, Terry and their crew will spend roughly 211 days on the road, travelling from Victoria to St. John’s, Nfld., to share the stories of Canadian veterans, raise money for programs that support veterans and their families and raise awareness about the challenges veterans face when they return home and about the fact that the profile of veterans is changing to include younger men and women who have served in recent deployments.

Paul, a former Calgary Highlander who served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Croatia, will ride the entire way, inviting veterans to join him on horseback in, or near, their community. Terry, a therapeutic riding instructor, will give veterans a riding lesson, and as the veterans join them on the ride, Paul and Terry will record their stories so that they can share them with the people of Canada.

“This ride is not about one veteran and his family riding across the country for a cause,” noted Paul. “By the time our horses get us to the Atlantic coast, we will have been joined by and have heard the stories of over 700 Canadian veterans. As these stories are collected and reflected on, we will create awareness and encourage discussion of the challenges that our servicemen and women face as they transition back into the world of civilians.

“The Canadian people love their troops, and our communities will support them but often times don’t know who they are after they clear out of the military. By educating our communities and raising awareness to the changing face of their veterans, we can give them the opportunity to truly support their troops. We believe that this timely help from the communities that they have served will lower the incidence of PTSD and family break up, and I personally know that timely help can change a life.”

To learn more about the ride, visit www.communitiesforveterans.ca.
The ride always need donations/sponsorship to cover among other things the cost of feeding the horses (works out to about $50 a day), so if people would like to volunteer to help out it would be greatly appreciated. They can contact the CVF or Georgie Jones at 613-395-4726 or georgiefhj@gmail.com.

 

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