At the end of the last Wounded Warriors Weekend, a woman approached one of the organizers in tears of joy.
“I don’t know what you did but thank you for giving me my husband back,” she said.
Like all guests of the Wounded Warriors Weekend, her husband is affected by post traumatic stress disorder, following service in the military or as a first responder. It’s a debilitating situation, but the weekend is designed to give these men and women a few days of rest, recreation and camaraderie. The benefits of such a weekend are too good to be ignored, and last Friday, organizers visited Chilliwack’s mayor, Sharon Gaetz, to ask for her support as they work toward the event.
“You are gonna help change an awful lot of lives,” Capt. Wayne Johnston. “This is an opportunity for the city to say ‘we know you’re not alone, we’re here with you.'”
It didn’t take much work to get the mayor on board, and she was aware of the event coming to town, on the BC Day long weekend. They are planning to host 250 soldiers, first responders and prison guards, mainly on the PRTC grounds.
“I’m pretty pleased that Chilliwack was chosen,” Gaetz said. While the city cannot afford funding for the event, she said they can and will help make the planning and carrying out of the weekend as smooth as possible. Staff can help with some set up, lowered rates can be offered, she added.
“We want to be able to make it happen,” Gaetz said. “When you see the young boys standing with arms on the guns (at Remembrance Day events) and knowing they might go into the military, and what might happen to them, it gives you pause. We go to these services but we have no idea what it means. We see them leave in their boots and fatigues but we don’t see them when they come home. So thank you.”
The guests at Wounded Warriors Weekend will be treated to free travel to Chilliwack, food and accommodations, and the option to take part in activities made possible through local businesses, organizations and individuals. This is the fourth year for the weekend, but the first time it’s been held in B.C.
It will also include a motorcycle procession through Abbotsford and Chilliwack, where the public will be invited to line the roads and show support for the men and women who have served the country.
For more information visit www.woundedwarriorsweekend.org.