Port Hardy is the end of the road for some, but the start of a journey for others.
The Wounded Warrior Run 2019 team arrived in town on Sunday, Feb. 24, and were given a hero’s welcome by the Royal Canadian Legion.
“It was amazing,” said WWRBC Director Jacqueline Zwang of the experience. “They had a nice spread of food for us and there was just so much love for us when we walked in.”
She added the team always looks forward to arriving in Port Hardy because they “get a chance to breathe for a second, and when we walk into that legion, it’s the most calming feeling because we know we are here — Port Hardy has this feeling of being present, and the people here are so incredible. They gave us donations last night, and we’ve already raised $43,000.”
Zwang noted that for her, the run is a personal matter. “I got involved with this run two years ago as a runner — at that time I was actually still in active cancer treatment, but I had experienced trauma at the beginning of my cancer journey. What I realized early on is because I understood what PTSD is, I reached out for help immediately. If I hadn’t of done that I don’t know if I would be okay today. The faster someone talks about something, the better off they are going to be. My mission is to make it a normal conversation so that people aren’t scared to come forward.”
Port Hardy councillor Fred Robertson was in attendance to see the runners off on their journey down island, noting he was proud to represent the town at the event because “What they’re doing is amazing and it’s about publicizing things that are hidden and have been hidden for way too long. They’re making us aware of mental health issues and people who are in service and have to face that on a daily basis.”
The team left Carrot Park in Port Hardy at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 25 in -6 conditions, jogging up the steep Highway 19 hill through the morning frost in the bitter cold.
They will arrive at the Royal Canadian Legion in Port McNeill at 11:00 a.m. for lunch, and then will take off for Woss in the afternoon.
The Wounded Warrior Run is a relay-style run down island that raises funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors Canada.
The funds raised support programming for service personnel struggling with Operational Stress Injuries, such as PTSD. The run starts on Feb. 25 in Port Hardy with athletes covering more than 600 kms in seven days until they reach the final destination at the BC Legislature in Victoria on March 3rd.
Along the way, the team will stop at legions and communities to raise awareness and funds for the support that Wounded Warriors Canada offers.
The 2019 Wounded Warrior Run team this year:
Brett Malcolm; and
Follow the Wounded Warrior Run down island at this link here.