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Changing the face of Canadian veterans
DIANE HUNTER firstname.lastname@example.org
Nichols. “But I have spoken to thousands of vets and tens of thousands of Canadians.” Champlain Mayor Gary Barton was on hand along with council member Jacques Lacelle to o"er Paul a plaque and a small donation for his e"orts. MP Pierre Lemieux was also at the ranch to welcome the riders and say a warm thank you. Veterans from the Hawkesbury Legion Branch 472 stood at attention and saluted Paul and Terry Nichols as they arrived. !e idea behind the ride is to tighten bonds between communities and veterans. Nichols came up with the idea to do this ride through a culmination of his own military experiences. “Returning to a community that doesn’t recognize a young man as a veteran is di#cult,” said Nichols. “When I
Since the beginning of April, Paul Nichols and his entourage have ridden through Canada to bring recognition to Canadian veterans, and awareness of the issues they face on a daily basis. On September 1 st , they arrived at the Black Tai Ranch in L’Orignal for a rest, and a few parties. !e 211 day ride was launched on April 13 fromVictoria BC, and is expected to end in St. John’s Newfoundland in just over two months.!e ride isn’t meant to be about any one veteran, but about all of the veterans that have served our country, and the daily chal- lenges they face. “So far on this ride I have had 240 veterans ride along with us,” said
Paul Nichols has been riding across the country since the beginning of April to bring recognition to Canadian veterans, and awareness of the issues they face on a daily basis.
came home from the Balkans is when the war started for me.” Troops are deployed di"erently than they were a couple of generations ago. A mili- tary unit used to draw its members from its home town or region. !e boys went o" to war together, brothers and cousins and neighbours shared common experiences and then returned home together. Soldiers are now deployed from large central bases and troops scatter in ones and twos to home towns all over the country when they return. “We all know of a neighbour’s kid or a school friend that went o" to serve his country,” explained Nichols. “When you see him on the street, take a second, say hello and smile. Give his kids a $st bump and ask his wife how she is doing.” Nichols wants to bring awareness to vete- rans who su"er fromPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that end in results such as suicide and family breakups. Several news reports have suggested there have beenmore military deaths due to suicide than there was in Afghanistan. !e National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces have stated close to 300,000 soldiers have died by suicide between 2010 and 2014. “We as soldiers have a code that says we look after our own,” said Nichols. “Somany of our Canadian veterans become invisible
when they clear out of themilitary and some struggle to transition to civilian life. Canada loves its military. A timely thank you from a neighbour can change a life and we think it can be better than all the therapy in the world after a veteran has already lost his way. Help us to raise awareness to this real issue and help us to bring communities together. Come out and ride for the ones that can’t. We will supply lessons and horses.” Upon completion of !e Ride, the rider stories will be brought to the public through the publication of a book. “Join us in telling the stories of our contemporary veterans and give our country a look at who our veterans really are.” Several events will be taking place while Nichols and his crew are in town. On Sep- tember 3 there will be a BBQ from4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and live music from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Black Tai Ranch at 821 County Road 17 in L’Orignal. !e ranch will hold live music with Frankie James on Septem- ber 4 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On September 5 Lucar Farms and Two Minds – One Ride Horsemanship will host a BBQ from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 2058 Landry Street in Clarence Creek. More information about the ride can be found at http://communitiesforveterans.ca/.
Members of the Hawkesbury Royal Canadian Legion Branch 472 along withMP Pierre Lemieux, Champlain Mayor Gary Barton and Champlain council member Jacques Lacelle, stood at attention and saluted Paul and Terry Nichols as they arrived at Black Tai Ranch on September 1 st .
After a long day, it’s time to put the horses in the corral for a much needed rest.
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Paul and Terry Nichols with members of the Hawkesbury Royal Canadian Legion Branch 472 along with MP Pierre Lemieux, Champlain Mayor Gary Barton, and Champlain council member Jacques Lacelle, took a moment for a photo with their horses. Newly appointed president of the legion, Gary O’Neil, is all smiles as he stands between the horses.
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