Following a seven-day, 600-kilometre relay run down the eastern edge of Vancouver Island, the team ended 2022’s Wounded Warrior Run on its final leg into Victoria’s Market Square.
Joined by Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, Saanich Police Chief Dean Duthie, CFB Esquimalt Base Commander Capt. Jeff Hutchinson and Wounded Warriors Canada organizer Jacqueline Zweng, the relay made its way from theAfghanistan Memorial on Courtney Street to the downtown square.
The runners were greeted with fanfare from a band comprised of Greater Victoria police officers and applause from a small gathered crowd once they arrived at Market Square around 4:30 p.m. Throughout the seven days, Victoria police Sgt. Steve Kowa said speaking with veterans at legion halls across Vancouver Island proved more emotionally impactful than the trial of each day’s run.
As of reporting, more than $150,000 has been raised towards mental health supports for uniformed first responders in B.C., according to the donation website.
“This is a culmination of what is not an insignificant achievement. (The run) is really quite amazing. It’s long days, a lot of kilometres and not always the best of conditions,” Hutchinson said before congratulating the runners who stood behind him and those who ran virtually across the country.
There is a tremendous amount of stigma towards injuries of occupational stress across the first responder workplaces of Greater Victoria added Manak. “The fact that we have so many people who suffer in silence, or are afraid to speak out whether you work for the police department, the fire department, paramedics, the Canadian Armed Forces or the coast guard … we have to bring that awareness. It’s just critical.”
Funds raised for Wounded Warriors Canada go towards couples assistance for post-traumatic stress, service animals and workplace trauma resiliency training said Steve Topham, the group’s national partnership director.
Over its lifetime, Wounded Warriors Canada has raised over $25 billion, equating to 330,000 clinical hours for its veteran and first responder clients, Hutchinson added.
Donations can still be made at tinyurl.com/2d6nktba.
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