WATCH ABOVE: Paul Nichols arrived on horseback Saturday afternoon at Pointe-Claire’s National Field of Honour. The war veteran is hoping his cross-country trek will raise awareness about the challenges faced by contemporary veterans as they adjust to civilian life.
MONTREAL – Paul Nichols and his horse Zoe set off on a journey across Canada to give a voice and a face to contemporary veterans in Canada.
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Nichols, 46, and Zoe started their trek in Victoria, British Colombia, on April 13. On Saturday, they made a stop at the National Field of Honour in Pointe-Claire.
Nichols says that when people imagine veterans they have a misconceived notion that they are all old men who once stormed the beaches of Normandy.
“The truth is that we have three generations of troops who have done a hard job for this country since those days,” he added.
The goal of the ride is to raise awareness about the challenges these young veterans face when they transition from the military to civilian life and also to build a support system for them in communities across Canada.
So far, Nichols believes that we’ve missed the mark when it comes to helping former soldiers deal with problems that range from post-traumatic stress disorder, to suicide, to family break-ups. Part of that failure comes from not knowing who veterans are.
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Nichols shares his story wherever he goes and so far 242 other veterans have joined him, adding their story to his, as they ride through their own communities.
In doing so, Nichols hopes that the discussion being created will help struggling veterans have a more seamless transition and hopefully avoid getting lost in the cracks.
Nichols will saddle up on Sunday as he heads out to Fort Chambly.
Anyone interested in following Nichols on his journey past and present can do so by going to the Communities For Veterans website.