CANMORE – The ongoing pandemic will not hinder the Canadian Walk For Veterans in the Bow Valley.
Jonathan Archambault, a Canadian Forces veteran and current member of the Calgary Police Department, and a trio of Canadian Forces members will undertake a 50-kilometre walk Sept. 26.
The party will depart the Canmore Legion at 7 a.m. along the Banff Legacy Trail to the Banff Legion, before turning around and returning to Canmore.
“We have all been through our own mental health issues. I am currently battling through my own PTSD and that is one of the reasons I am doing this walk,” said Archambault.
“I want to bring more awareness to people – to remove the misunderstanding of the sickness that we have.”
Archambault said most people can understand and see the impact of a physical injury, like a lost or broken limb, but they struggle to understand an “invisible illness,” such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Coming from a very rigid world that is black and white, where your self-identity is the military as a whole, makes it incredibly difficult for veterans to transition and reintegrate into society," he said.
With the many difficulties faced by front-line workers during the pandemic, Archambault said this year is about more than just the veterans. It is also about all those that have taken up the call of “service before self."
“This year – let’s be honest – has been a really tough year. We want to show some love and compassion towards those in the military and veterans, but also first responders, civil servants, and all the essential workers.”
Representing the Calgary-chapter of the nation-wide walk, the 50km walk in the Rockies is open to anyone who wants to show their support.
“They don’t have to be a veteran or a front-line worker. They can walk with us for one kilometre, two, 10 or all 50km. Just their presence would be welcome – to share some good stories and offer support.”
While much of the walk has taken on a virtual aspect because of the pandemic, Archambault was eager to still get outside and walk in the Bow Valley.
Visit canadianwalkforveterans.com, for more information.