Wounded Warriors coming to Chilliwack

Fundraising team needs your help to make weekend event a success for those suffering from post traumatic stress

Bobby Henline

Bobby Henline

A massive event that has brought together veterans each summer for the past three years is coming to Chilliwack.

The Wounded Warriors Weekend, taking place July 31 to Aug. 3, is expected to draw in 250 participants to share in some much-needed relaxation, recreation and camaraderie. But more than anything, the weekend offers a chance for healing, and feeling a little less alone in the world.

The focus in on those ‘wounded warriors’ who are dealing with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. While the weekend first was started with war vets in mind, it now has grown to include a wide range of participants. RCMP members, members of the military, fire fighters, first responders and Corrections Canada employees are all welcome to take part in the activities of the weekend.

“It’s a self healing weekend,” said organizer Bill Higdon. There are no counsellors at the ready, no overly structured plans to follow. But there will be plenty to do for those who come. Last year the event was held in Slave Lake, AB and the activities offered included golfing, fishing, a motorcycle rodeo, a large gala event, a dance and a wind up party.

And none of it costs a dime to those participating. Everything from air travel from anywhere in country, to accommodations (at the Pacific Regional Training Centre’s Executive Hotel), to the recreation portion, meals and entertainment, are all offered free to those who attend.

Post traumatic stress can be debilitating, and can lead to depression and suicide.

There were a reported 178 Canadian soldier suicides between 2002 and 2014 — 20 more than the number of armed forces members killed in action. While the rate is in line with the general population, it’s believed the common link in many of those deaths is post traumatic stress disorder.

Common complaints included excessive fears and anxiety, memories that won’t go away, cold sweats and anger. Even a car backfiring in a peaceful suburban neighbourhood can trigger flashbacks. And enough of these triggers can force the country’s strongest and bravest people to barricade themselves off from the world, their friends, and even their own spouses and children.

But the tide may be turning, as post traumatic stress, depression and suicide are becoming better studied and less stigmatized.

Talking about it really can help.

And that’s really what the Wounded Warriors Weekend is all about. The organizing team is looking for partners to help make the weekend a success. The average cost to cater to each participant (including travel) is $2,500. Covering the costs for the participants eliminates any financial barriers, as many of the Wounded Warriors are no longer employed.

“We strive to bring more awareness to the Wounded Warriors Weekend that works to promote the healing of damaged souls with the combination of nature, music, compassion and renewed support,” the organizers said. Between now and the August long weekend, they will be hosting numerous fundraising events and accepting donations.

Any money in excess of what is needed for the weekend will be forwarded to next year’s committee.

HOW TO HELP

There are a few ways to help the organizing committee fundraise for the Wounded Warriors Weekend.

On Jan. 24, the Vedder Legion is holding a dinner by donation featuring pulled pork sandwiches. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are also on sale for their Valentine’s Day dinner event, to be held on Feb. 14 at the Best Western. The dinner will feature comedian Bobby Henline and Elvis tribute artist Jeff Bodner, along with a silent and live auction. Tickets are $50 and can purchased from the Vedder Legion.

To donate to the Wounded Warriors Weekend, purchase tickets, sponsor a participant, or nominate a ‘wounded warrior’ contact Jeff Bodner at 604-316-7882 or visit www.woundedwarriorsweekend.org.

BOBBY HENLINE

Bobby Henline started his working life as a soldier, but today spends his time as a motivational speaker and comedian. Henline was a veteran of Desert Storm by the age of 19. He was stirred to enlist again after 9/11 and was deployed to Iraq three times with the 82nd Airborne Division and 3rd Armored Calvary regiment.

On his fourth tour, on Apr. 7, 2007, a Humvee was traveling in was hit by a roadside bomb just north of Baghdad. Four men were killed. While Henline was the sole survivor, almost 40 per cent of his body was burned. His head was burned to the skull and he spent the next six months in hospital. To date, he’s had more than 40 surgeries, and is an amputee.

Henline has chosen to look at his situation in a positive light. At the urging of a therapist, he has pursued his new career, speaking with humour and honesty on stage around North America for the past several years.

To learn more about Bobby Henline, visit bobbyhenline.com.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read