Organizers have planned a weekend of fishing and golfing in Nipawin, a town about 3 1/2 hours northeast of Saskatoon, for the soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwoman who arrived Thursday at Saskatoon’s airport.
Wayne Johnston, founder of Wounded Warriors, said the town, the province and country music star Blake Emmons reached out to him about 10 months ago with a message that they wanted to help.
He said many of the veterans are suffering from mental health issues, something he understands — Johnson served as the national repatriation officer to the wounded and he himself suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A concert will wrap up the weekend on Sunday night.
A cavalcade will bring them all back to Saskatoon on Monday, where they will fly back home.
“Experiences like this put people in a better position to talk about it,” said Johnston.
Devon Longpre, who served as a part of the military police for three years, is one of the veterans. Last year he was injured and required spinal surgery.
“My injuries have just preceded me to the point where I’m unable to do that job anymore, so I’m open to seeing what they can do to keep me and if not, I have to find another means of a job,” said Longpre.
“I’m glad to be here. My expectation is whatever they want to throw at me, I’m all for it,” he said.
Lewis Robin, a city councillor in Nipawin, said the aim is for the community to provide an atmosphere to improve the veterans' mental health and give some good times for some people who went through some hard situations.
“It important because we’re recognizing the freedom that we have and the sacrifices that contributed so we could have this freedom,” he said.
(CJME, CKOM, CJWW)