Paul Nichols leads fellow Canadian Forces veterans at the start of cross-country ride at the B.C. legislature Monday.

B.C. veterans begin cross-Canada ride

Ride to include 700 veterans, going through Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Princeton, Kelowna, Vernon and Armstrong

Quesnel rancher Paul Nichols kicked off a cross-Canada horseback ride Monday to introduce a new generation of veterans to the public and seek their support.

Nichols, who served with Canadian troops during ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, struggled to control his emotions at a ceremony at the B.C. legislature.

“Our Canadian troops do a hard job for us, and when they choose to transition back into civilian life, some of them struggle and lose their way,” Nichols said. “And I can tell you from personal experience that a heartfelt thank-you and timely support from the community during that time of transition can be life-changing. So my job through this foundation is to put as many Canadian veterans in the saddle as I can.”

Accompanied by other B.C. veterans and his wife Terry, a therapeutic riding instructor, Nichols plans to connect with 700 veterans in an eight-month journey ending in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“That awareness will create change, and with that change I believe that we can lower the incidence and severity of post-traumatic stress disorder, lower the incidence of family breakup and I think we can lower the incidence of veteran suicide,” Nichols said.

B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon attended the ceremony to wish the riders well on their journey, offering a stop for hay and food at her ranch in the Nicola Valley.

The ride includes stops in Abbotsford, Chilliwack Hope, Princeton, Summerland, Kelowna, Vernon and Armstrong before continuing into Alberta in May.

For more information the ride, and to follow its progress, see their website at www.communitiesforveterans.com.

VIDEO: Canadian Forces riding from Victoria to St. John’s

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for playoffs

The bantams will be playing their first two playoff games in Port McNeill this weekend.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The top of Mt. Wolfenden

“A few shots at different focal lengths and then I was back inside editing with a coffee in hand”

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

Book reading: The Blue Haired Girl

Adam Hayes will be at the Book Nook (inside Cafe Guido) Feb. 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read