Seventeen Canadian Armed Forces personnel from all over Vancouver Island, ill or injured members of “Soldier On,” converged on Campbell River for a day of fishing in the world famous Tyee Pool.
The Soldier On program, established in 2007 as a joint initiative of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the Department of National Defence, uses sporting activity to improve the quality of life of current and former Canadian Forces members who have suffered major injuries.
To say thanks to these Canadian heroes, the Tyee Club hosted the unique salmon fishing experience on Friday. Several members of the Tyee Club volunteered to row and everyone enjoyed a potluck dinner.
Event organizer and school teacher Mark Lagos started planning this event many months ago after meeting a military veteran at Southgate School.
“I wanted to make sure he knew how much we appreciated his continual sacrifices,” Lagos said. “He had been injured while performing peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan and it made me think that this guy, and others like him, are really deserving of our thanks.
“We want to give a huge thanks to our local businesses and club membership who have helped out with this. The community support, including donations of accommodations and food, has been phenomenal,” Lagos said.
Victoria-based Master Warrant Officer Brian Helpard, in charge of Soldier On in the Pacific Region, said the event was “fantastic” even though the big ones weren’t biting.
“We have a tendency to withdraw inside ourselves. It’s just great to be engaged like this. And, any recognition from society is always a bonus.”