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Walk for Veterans set to make its White Rock debut

Annual event has roots on Semiahmoo Peninsula, but has never before been staged here
Canadian Walk For Veterans national co-organizer Marc Burchell at the White Rock Pier. (Contributed photo)

Though its roots are in White Rock – event founder Marc Burchell is a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident – the annual Walk for Veterans is set to make its debut in the seaside city later this month.

The walk – co-founded by Burchell and his Equitas Society in 2018 – is now a national endeavour, and is planned for 11 cities across Canada on Sept. 24-25. The White Rock walk is set for the 25th, 10 a.m., and begins at Memorial Park (15300 Marine Dr.).

Registration is $25, and funds raised from the White Rock event will be put towards the True Patriot Love Afghan Resettlement campaign. Walks in Abbotsford, Courtenay, Kamloops, Edmonton, Calgary and Kingston, Ont. will also support the same organization, while proceeds from other walks – from Halifax to Phillipsburg, Que. and Prince Albert, Sask. will support similar military and veteran-focused organizations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent Walk for Veterans events have been staged remotely.

“COVID-19 has been hard on a lot of veteran and first responder organizations across the country, so this year we have teamed up with other organizations to help them raise money to support local charities,” said Burchell in a news release. “Wherever they live, we encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to support the Canadian Walk for Veterans and the veterans in their community.”

Aside from raising money – through registration fees as well as donations – the purpose of the Walk for Veterans is to bring awareness of veterans who may not be top of mind to local residents – including translators, peacekeepers and veterans of more modern conflicts.

“Highly skilled interpreters, cultural advisors and project officers have always been essential to Canadian military and peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and other conflict zones. They’ve served alongside us in very high-risk environments helping to keep us safe and we should not leave them behind,” Randie Scott, a 35-year veteran who served in Afghanistan, said in the release.

“The public tends to think of veterans as soldiers from (The First World War, the Second World War) or the Korean War, but we also have a generation of young veterans among us who deserve our thanks and need our support.

“Unlike Remembrance Day, where we tend to pay tribute to the fallen, the Canadian Walk for Veterans is an opportunity to walk shoulder to shoulder with veterans and thank them while they are still among us.”

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