80 Wounded Soldiers and their Families to experience first Wounded Warriors Weekend on August 24-26

Grassroots movement in Nipawin, Saskatchewan seen as important event to honour and show support for veterans from Canada and the United States

WHITBY, ON, July 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Beginning on Thursday, August 23, 80 war veterans from Canada and the United States will be given a warm Prairie welcome and honoured for their service to their country at the first Wounded Warriors Weekend. What began with a campfire chat between country singer Blake Emmons and his fishing partner country singer Jimmy Chute as well as Hugh Wagner of Grain and General Services Union has grown into a weekend filled with activities involving 1,000's of people and many Saskatchewan communities. 

The 80 wounded soldiers - 60 from Canada and 20 from the United States and their families and caregivers will arrive at Saskatoon's John G. Diefenbaker International Airport on Thursday, August 24, and travel north by motorcade to Nipawin. The soldiers are from nine provinces and eight states.

"Wounded Warriors weekend is an unprecedented four day event. In the recent 2012 Big Battlefield Bike Ride we saw how powerful group activities are in contributing to the recovery of our soldiers," said Captain Wayne Johnston, Founder, WoundedWarriors.ca. "The first Wounded Warriors Weekend will provide soldiers and their families from Canada and the United States a similar experience through a number of relaxing activities, the strength of a community and the opportunity to make connections and realize they are not alone." 

At Vanity Ventures as well as other cabins, hotels and motels in Nipawin, Pruden's Point and the surrounding area  the group will be able to relax, fish in the Saskatchewan River and Tobin Lake, golf at the Evergreen or Rolling Hills, meet,and socialize. The events also give Canadians the opportunity to demonstrate their support and appreciation for the sacrifice and service of the troops.

"We want to honour and thank our war veterans," said country singer and Nipawin resident Blake Emmons, "This weekend is for those Canadian and American soldiers who came home after serving their country in Bosnia, Iraq and  Afghanistan and are now challenged with physical injuries sustained in combat as well as an unnoticeable injury known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We want to support them in their recovery."

The schedule already includes: 

Thursday, August 23 - Arrival between 1:15 pm and 3:00 pm at  John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, Saskatoon. Met by honour guard including the Royal Canadian Legion, a pipe band, residents of Saskatoon. Motorcade with Cavalcade of Heroes through Saskatoon and north to Nipawin via Duck Lake and Love. Dinner in Prince Albert hosted by the Mayor at Northern Lights Casino. 

Friday, August 24 - Nipawin - Welcome Breakfast in Elk's Hall, Lund Fishing Challenge, Shore Lunch at Pruden's Point and Dinner and Writer's in the Round Concert at White Fox Community Centre. 

Saturday, August 25 - Nipawin, Lund Fishing Challenge or golf at Evergreen Golf and Country Club and Rolling Pines. Breakfast at Legion Hall sponsored by Knights of Columbus. Formal Dinner at Evergreen Centre which will be attended by Lt. Governor Schofield.

Sunday, August 26 - Lund fishing challenge until 3:00 pm and/or golf. Breakfast at Evergreen Centre sponsored by Lion's Club. Sunday morning gospel sing at the park, a barbecue and a Country Music Concert  at the Nipawin Fair Grounds, awards for the biggest walleye northern, closing ceremony. Admission is free and donations will be accepted. 

Monday, August 27 - Breakfast at the Legion Hall sponsored by Just For You Catering/Legion. Disembark with "Wounded Warriors Cavalcade" for Saskatoon via Tisdale, Waka, Melfort.

For an up-to-date schedule, go to http://woundedwarriorsweekend.org/events/

"It is through events such as this that we will begin to remove the stigma around mental illness and help break down the barriers for the soldiers and their families," added Johnston. 

Sponsors include the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses to the Grain and General Services Union. Besides supplying boats for the weekend, the Lund Boat Company is offering donors of $10 or more the opportunity to win the fishing experience of a lifetime (http://woundedwarriorsweekend.org/win/

To follow: Twitter: @WoundWarriorCa, @wwcawayne

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/2431856118/, woundedwarriors.ca and woundedwarriorsweekend.org

About Wounded Warriors.ca: Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors.ca is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces members - be they full time or reservists - who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada since 1990. We help find solutions for current and former members of the Canadian Forces where gaps have left them in need. While providing programs to all members of the Canadian Forces who have been wounded or injured, our primary focus is on reservist mental health.  Our secondary focus is on physical health support, and tertiary focus is on life skills development for all members of the Canadian Forces who have been wounded or injured.

SOURCE: Wounded Warriors.ca

For further information:

To request and interview contact: Victoria Ollers, 416-822-2288, vo@goldfenix.com; Paul Tyler, 905-235-2731, pt@goldfenix.com

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