The Canadian Walk for Veterans is expanding to include Abbotsford.
It’s the fifth year for the walk, but the first time one has been held anywhere in the Fraser Valley.
Christian Lane, a law enforcement officer from a family of veterans, is the team lead for the Abbotsford walk, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 24 at Mill Lake.
He’s hoping to see veterans, first responders, family, friends and the public come out and enjoy the event.
“This is our first opportunity coming out of the pandemic to bring our neighbours and friends together in support of veterans,” he said. “And this is the first time this event has ever been held in the Fraser Valley.”
It’s an opportunity to walk alongside a veteran, soldier, police officer, paramedic or firefighter, either to talk about their experiences or to just enjoy the walk.
Now more than ever, veterans are ready to talk about their time in service.
“This is one of the features of the walk,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for every day Canadians to come out and talk to a veteran. The interesting thing about this generation of solider is they want to share their stories. There is a much better understanding of unburdening yourself.”
He knows this personally as a first responder, and also as the host of a podcast called Team Ten Eight. The numbers are radio code for being ‘ready for service,’ he explains, and that’s the theme of his show. He created the show to be a platform for those who have served the country in the military.
Where older generations wanted to bury their stories, for the most part, that’s changing.
“This generation really wants to share their stories,” he says, and they are understanding the healing that comes with sharing them.
“It removes barriers and certain stigmas, unloading your guts,” Lane says.
Registration for the walk is $25, with the the majority of those funds going toward an initiative that Lane is passionate about, called the True Patriot Love Afghan Resettlement Fund.
The theme for this year’s walk, Leave No One Behind, was chosen to raise awareness of the plight of translators, interpreters, cultural advisors and other locally employed people who were essential to Canada’s missions in conflicts throughout the world such as the Balkans, Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan.
For example, there are many Afghan citizens who helped the Canadian military in their efforts, and are being targeted by the Taliban today for their service to Canada. So far more than 7,865 Afghans have been brought to Canada under special immigration measures, fewer than half of the 15,575 applications received.
This resettlement efforts have been going on since Canada pulled out of Afghanistan a year ago.
“These are locals (in Afghanistan) who worked side by side with Canada,” Lane says. “They deserve to be here in Canada and elsewhere in the world, free from the threat of harm because they did work alongside of us.”
The True Patriot Love Foundation, in partnership with organizations across the country, has launched a fund that will be distributed across Canada to local organizations working directly with Afghan refugees and their families as they adapt to life in Canada.
The Walk for Veterans is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of service that play but also those who helped the military, he adds.
To participate in this 5-km walk, register at www.CanadianWalkForVeterans.com.
The Abbotsford Canadian Walk for Veterans will take place at Mill Lake Park – Bevan Avenue between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.