Veterans, first responders and other service providers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will now have a permanent place to retreat for healing and support in the summer at Camp Independence.
The owners of a lodge at Tobin Lake, Sask., have partnered with Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation for the project to make the lodge available for week-long camps for the warriors each summer.
Foundation director Verda Hoppe is thrilled to see the for northeast Saskatchewan member warriors will now have a new home-away-from-home for their retreats.
“It’s right on the lake,” she said. “It is very accessible; it’s a beautiful place. It’s perfect for what we want to use if for.”
Hoppe thanks Gerald and Irene Purcell, owner/operators of Tobin Lake Trophy Adventures lodge, for making the space available to the Wounded Warriors members.
Starting mid-July, two camps are planned this year, with each running for a week at the lodge. About 25 warriors will be participating in each camp.
Previously the Foundation arranged for a weekend only camp each year for the warriors, so now that the lodge is available it can have longer camp retreats. As a result it will be able to also run various programs to support the warriors.
Some of the programs that are being looked at include training participants’ service dogs that offer therapeutic support to the warriors. Equine therapy is also being considered as another option.
All the while, the warriors will be able to spend time fishing or simply decompressing and taking in the beauty of the lake, during their stay.
“The (Foundation) provides their meals, accommodation and all the activities,” said Hoppe. “It’s a healing experience; that’s what we plan. It’s also very important they get a chance to connect with others who are having the same sorts of issues.”
Hoppe added it helps the members immensely when they can talk to others who can understand what they are going through.
Hoppe credited Blake Emmons, founder of the Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation, for first starting the non profit organization to support veterans and others struggling with PTSD.
North Battleford supporter Marlene Oleshko is also glad to see plans for Independence Camp come to fruition.
Oleshko has helped organize fundraiser galas in the Battlefords for the Foundation for five years to support the cause.
She is also planning a fundraiser show with proceeds benefitting Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation coming up.
Popular Elvis tribute artist Jeff Bodner will be performing at the Air Cadets Hall at 792 111 St. at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. Tickets are available at Crystal Rose Wellness Spa at 1482-100 St. in North Battleford.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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