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Wounded Warrior tour raising awareness about PTSD

Stu McKinnon, president of the Comox Legion, says Legions exist to support veterans and their families. - Jan Wilderom
Stu McKinnon, president of the Comox Legion, says Legions exist to support veterans and their families.
— image credit: Jan Wilderom

A man on a mission got an entire legion on its feet and applauding after a from-the-heart speech.

Petty Officer Second Class Allan Kobayashi has toured in Kosovo and Afghanistan. But this time he’s on a different mission then what he’s used to.

He joined the Wounded Warrior Run B.C. to raise money, but more importantly educate people about post-traumatic stress disorders.

“The rippling effect of PTSD is endless,” said Kobayashi as the Wounded Warrior run on Vancouver Island stopped Tuesday in the Comox Valley. “They used to call it shell shock, you know, back in the trenches. 'The olden days.'

"As education grew, as people became more knowledgeable and knew more about stressful traumatic events, PTSD came into realization.”

The Comox Legion was filled with support. A keg was donated, and all proceeds went to the Wounded War Fund.

Comox Legion president Stu McKinnon said this is what the Legion is there for.

“We are here to be supportive of the veterans service people. We’re there to support their families.”

Ten months ago Kobayashi and four other military colleagues decided to incorporate their passion of endurance training into an effort to raise awareness of PTSD.

The run will cover the length of Vancouver Island, 600 kilometres over six days.

“This has only been 10 months in the making,” said Kobayashi. “To get this big, to get this much support, it’s incredible.”

The Comox Legion incorporates a small community but as a whole, they donate a lot of money every year, said McKinnon.

“Between the ladies' auxiliary and the Legion, we must give out about $70,000 to charity organizations.”

With recent cutbacks in government funding to help veterans it’s a real struggles, said McKinnon.

“There are some aspects of the government that don’t do enough. At one time when I was in the forces, and I came back, I thought the government took care of you. But now veterans have to fight for everything they get. I don’t think that’s right.”

Ending his powerful speech, Kobayashi said his family was the main reason for keeping him safe.

“I would just like to take this moment for all our spouses, for all our families, for everybody out there. Thank you very much for all your support.

"Without them none of us would be here and I can speak from personal experience. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my wife and kids giving me support.”

 

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