For the first time ever, Wetaskiwin will be taking part in the Canadian Walk For Veterans on Sept. 23.
Over the Sept. 23 and 24 weekend, in a dozen cities across the nation, citizens and veterans will walk shoulder-to-shoulder.
In its sixth year, the 2023 event will pay tribute to the contribution of military families, the “heroes of the homefront.”
Participating communities this year are Wetaskiwin, Calgary, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Halifax, Kingston, Philipsburg, Courtenay, Kamloops, White Rock, Surrey, and Fraser Valley, plus a virtual walk.
“Although this is the sixth year the walk has taken place, it’s the first year that it will be hosted by Wetaskiwin,” said Keith Lewis, service officer on the executive committee of the Wetaskiwin Legion Branch No. 86.
“The main goal of the Canadian Walk for Veterans is to raise awareness of veterans,” said Lewis.
“So besides getting some exercise, I hope that all participants will learn more about the Canadian Military and take the time to engage with the veterans that are participating or supporting the walk.”
The five-kilometre walk is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The route starts and ends at the Wetaskiwin Legion (located at 5003 52 Ave.) and will take participants around town on walking trails and sidewalks.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the cost is $25.
During the walk, participants are encouraged to take time to read the 12 information signs that will be set up along the route with facts from World War I up to Afghanistan.
“When a member serves in the military, the entire family serves as well,” stated a press release.
”Families play a critical role in enhancing the well-being of military personnel and veterans, particularly those with service-related health conditions … the families face challenges too.”
“Constant awareness of the potential dangers faced by their serving parent, spouse or child, caring for members or veterans with service-related conditions, geographic moves and transitioning out of military life all present challenges and require sacrifices by members of military families.”
The Canadian Walk For Veterans is held annually, inviting Canadians to walk in recognition of serving military, veterans and their families.
The primary goal is to provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn about the challenges faced by those who serve our country and to express gratitude for the sacrifices they make.
Net proceeds from this year’s walk will go to supporting the work of Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) in regions where in-person events are held.
MFRC staff connect military families to a wide range of programs and services.
“Whether they need advice on navigating family relationships, have questions about what to expect during military life or are seeking counselling services, the compassionate professionals at Military Family Resource Centres are there to support them in a safe environment.”
Everyone who registers will receive the 2023 CWFV challenge coin produced by veteran-owned Sharkz Coins of Esquimalt, B.C.
The front of the coin depicts the iconic image from the Second World War entitled “Wait for me Daddy” and on the back of the coin is this year’s theme “Heroes of the Homefront.”
Information about the 2023 Canadian Walk for Veterans and registration details can be found at www.canadianwalkforveterans.com.
Anyone who can’t attend the walk but would like to support Canadian veterans and their families can register through the website and walk “virtually” where they want, when they want.