A group of nearly 200 veterans were given a special welcome in Regina Thursday, as the 'Wounded Warriors' gathered for a weekend retreat in Saskatchewan's north.

The veterans, from the United States, Great Britain and Australia, were greeted with cheers at the airport in Regina.

Later on Thursday they will make their way to Nipawin for a fishing trip.

The goal of the trip is to help the veterans recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In addition to recreational activities, the retreat will also include sessions with mental health professionals.


A group of veterans, arriving in Regina for a weekend retreat, were given a warm welcome at the airport. (CBC )

Blake Emmons, an American who fought in Vietnam and now lives in Nipawin, organized the event.

He said many veterans have mental health needs.

"For everyone that's lost an arm, or leg, or limb, there's another hundred that have lost a soul," Emmons said.

Leif Edwards, from Australia, served as a private in East Timor and Afghanistan. He has faced challenges trying to find work after his military service.

The warm welcome at the Regina airport, he said, was moving.

"For a country like this, to put its heart out, and stand up and applaud us is unbelievable," Edwards said.

One of the first people to shake his hand at the airport was George Durban, 84, a veteran himself who was in the arrivals hall wearing his uniform.

"Brings it all back to you," Durban said. "They might not have fought [along] with you, but they all become family."

With files from CBC's Bonnie Allen