PTSD awareness march reaches New Brunswick
3 veterans left B.C. in June on cross-Canada journey
Three former soldiers are marching through New Brunswick as they enter the final few weeks of a cross-Canada journey aiming to raise awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Laden with military backpacks, Steve Hartwig and two fellow veterans left CFBGagetown on Friday, hoping to make it to Saint John on Saturday.
Their journey began in British Columbia back in June.
“Everybody has some misunderstanding about PTSD,” said Hartwig. "When you come home a lot of people just don't understand what you go thorough."
The three men all served in Croatia in the 1990s and have been diagnosed with PTSD themselves. They're marching because they want the public to better understand the disorder, a condition affecting thousands of Canadians inside and outside the armed forces.
Veteran Paul Bilton welcomed the marchers.
“I was really upset there today when somebody said to me, ‘Oh you're PTSD, just get over it and grow up.' That means I have to suck it back inside and try to deal with it. Well it's not going too good," he said.
Bilton served in three conflicts, most recently in Afghanistan. Some painful memories still linger.
“The dog sat on the anti-personnel mine. But what hurt, it was trying to talk to the kids and wiping the dog parts off their faces,” he said.
It's stories like Bilton's that inspire the walking veterans.
"That's our motivation everyday is people coming and telling us it's making a difference for them," said Jason McKenzie.
The men hope to finish in St. John’s, N.L. on Sept. 14.