Communities for Veterans Foundation logo
Since April, Canadian military veteran Paul Nichols has been riding across Canada on his horse, Zoe, on behalf of the Communities for Veterans Foundation.
The ride started in British Columbia in April and will make its way through Prince Edward Island between Oct. 9 and 14.
At stops along the ride, Nichols and Zoe have been meeting with veterans and introducing them to equine therapy.
Horses helped Nichols readjust to civilian life.
Nichols, his wife Terry, and a supportive crew are raising funds and awareness of PTSD and to educate Canadians about problems facing today’s veterans.
Additionally, the ride across Canada wishes to stress the changing profile of veterans to include younger men and women who have served in recent deployments.
“This ride is not about one veteran and his family riding across the country for a cause,” Nichols said. “By the time our horses get us to the Atlantic coast, we will have been joined by and have heard the stories of over 700 Canadian veterans. As these stories are collected and reflected on, we will create awareness and encourage discussion of the challenges that our servicemen and women face as they transition back into the world of civilians.”
The ride will come to an end in Newfoundand in November, right before Remembrance Day.
For information, visit CommunitiesForVeterans.ca. They are also chronicling their journey on Twitter, search @vetsrideCanada.
The Communities for Veterans Foundation ride across Canada, which will visit P.E.I. this week, was inspired by an experience rider Paul Nichols had after leaving the army.
The former Calgary Highlander, who served in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s, was buying jewelry for his wife when the salesperson recognized the regimental crest on his jacket.
Nichols learned that the woman had survived the siege of Sarajevo.
She had lived in an underground parking lot for two years, facing sniper and machine gun fire every time she went out for food or water.
She told Nichols that it was Canadian troops who got her out.
When Nichols said that he had never seen Sarajevo but he had served in the former Yugoslavia, the woman cried and hugged him, grateful for the service of Canadian soldiers.
It was at that moment that Nichols noticed that every single person in the lineup at the store was wiping away tears; that was when he learned the power of a heartfelt story.
Oct. 9: Confederation Bridge to Hunter River
Oct. 10: Hunter River to Milton Station
Oct. 11: Charlottetown
Oct. 12: Rest Day
Oct. 13: Charlottetown to Mount Albion
Oct. 14: Mount Albion to Wood Islands