Greg Hill

Legion revs up support for PTSD

PTSD affects numerous veterans during and after combat and The Royal Canadian Legion wants to do something about it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects numerous veterans during and after combat and The Royal Canadian Legion wants to do something about it.

On Aug. 10, Trail’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch #11 members are banding together with the public and veterans to raise money with a motorcycle ride for the treatment of PTSD in veterans.

Greg Hill, local Legion president, says that there isn’t a better group to raise money for those with PTSD.

“A lot of the bikers are veterans themselves,” he said. “For all three years, a veteran has led the ride. This year, we have a more recent veteran – he was in Bosnia.”

Hill says the impact PTSD has is immeasurable and the Legion is doing what they can to support two programs, both designed to help Canadian veterans when they leave the military.

“Veterans can learn to live with it and that is what we try and help with,” he said. “(The programs) have clinical psychologists and people who know how to deal with PTSD. This is what we are trying to help with and we are trying to reach out to (the soldiers). (One part) is a three-day intensive program.”

Glenda Reilly, office administrator at the Legion, says the programs are necessary to ensure that veterans who are struggling with PTSD are successful in the civilian workforce.

“A lot of soldiers were trained for the army and a lot of their training can’t be transferred,” said Reilly. “This program helps them do that by getting them accredited in civilian life along with the proper documentation and things like that.”

The Military Skills Conversion Program, put on by the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Federal Government, is paid for by the Legion and Hill says it can get expensive.

“Each one of the courses costs over $80,000 and they take seven to eight veterans at a time,” he said. “We pay for everything.”

Each year, the event has grown and Reilly says the Legion hopes it is only going to get bigger in the future.

“We’re hoping that, as time goes on and the word gets out, people will become more aware of the programs,” she said. “The Legion as a whole and branches across Canada are encouraged to start their own rider club. We’re hoping that with time it will grow to be a big annual event.”

This year’s charity ride begins at the Legion on Aug.10 with the $20 registration for the ride at 9 a.m. The bikes leave the Legion at 10 a.m.

For those that want to contribute, but don’t have a motorcycle, the Legion will be serving a $5 bacon and egg breakfast from 8 am to 1 p.m.

For more information on the event or the cause, call the local Legion at 364-1422.

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