When we hatched this whole idea back in June we started by writing an outline for our blogs and, in particular, the last, final, one. We wanted to create a vision to hold on to and motivate us on those dull, cold, rainy days. We were focused from the start on doing whatever it takes to see this marathon through and to make sure we thanked everyone who supported us along the way.
Two big changes jumped out at us on looking back on our notes for that final blog and while our initial intention was to do a quick update and edit we find ourselves re-writing this entry to reflect those personal “changes” we never saw coming:
Firstly, the tone of the original post was entitled “The Wrap Up” and suggested our project had come to a fruitful end, as we’d bow-out, hats-tipped, while the curtain close. Now, don’t get me wrong. We have an incredible sense of accomplishment in having run the race we set out to do; both beating our goal times and crossing the lines with (somewhat maniacal) smiles on our faces. But what became clear throughout our training, and our involvement in this cause, was that the finish line at Bellville & Government in Victoria was really our starting line. And so, I would hate to suggest in this post that we are “done”. We’ve become much more motivated and aware of the work that needs to be done and of how we can best target our passion, energy, voice, and efforts.
Secondly, the original post attempted to thank all the people, groups, and organizations that had helped us in the beginning, and whose support we anticipated in the months ahead – and that thanks is still very much and deeply heartfelt. Yet, we misjudged just how many wonderful people we would have to thank. For example, we knew that BC Legion Command would play a pinnacle role in our journey, but we did not expect, however, to have dinner with Legion BC/Yukon President, Angus Stanfield, Pro Patria President Ted Leaker, and other supporters the night before our run toasting us in style. We never expected that Linda Mussell would show up on her long weekend vacation, after tirelessly working behind the scenes to get our message out, with camera in hand, full of smiles, ready to cheer us on across the line. We knew our immediate family and friends would give us a “thumbs up” on Facebook and would be terribly excited for us – we didn’t know they’d pass our cause on far and wide resulting in international support from veterans of all ages and nationalities. We knew our message would get out through “legion” channels, but not that a contingency of legion members would make the trek from Tsawwassen and White Rock to Kitsilano, Vancouver, just to have a beer with us and shake our hands before we took off. Nor did we expect, in our wildest dreams, that Legion BC/Yukon Central Zone Commander John Scott and his lovely wife Wilma would travel down from Prince George to greet us staggering over the finish line and shake our sweaty hands.
Along with running the marathon our donation goal was to raise $2,500, which it looks like we’ll surpass. We have family, friends, local businesses, and so many generous and kind donors to thank, but we’re especially thankful to the Billy Bishop Canadian Legion for supporting our pre-run fundraising event, and their kind donation of $500, Branch #4 and Branch #173 for their donations. We’ll be visiting your branches soon to thank you in person.
We also need to thank and proudly plug a young Vancouver band who donated their talent and time to our fundraising event at the Billy Bishop. They are “Wired”! They are Amazing! And we are forever in their debt! Thank you guys so very much!
So, what’s next? Another Marathon? Climb a Mountain? Write a Book? Run for Politics? We’re not sure. What we are sure of is that our desire to help Veterans is shared by many and that we’re not alone. They are not alone and we need to let them know that, as it’s hard to know what a Veteran is struggling with. They seem strong because they’re broken down and reprogrammed to be strong. Yet, it’s clearly many aren’t. This may be the end of our marathon, but we see a much longer road ahead.
On a final note, we’d like to leave you by echoing the sentiments of Jeff Rose-Martland who stated in a recent Huffington Post article, and in simple terms, that if Canada cannot provide for its Veterans it is clear it does not deserve them. Rather than boarding up Veterans Affairs offices it should shut down recruiting stations. We couldn’t agree with you more!
To All Our Veterans:
We Thank You And We Will Not Forget!
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