Over the course of his 39 years as a firefighter, View Royal fire chief Paul Hurst has seen and felt the effects of PTSD firsthand.
“Policing, paramedics, fire, they all face the same sort of traumatic events,” says Hurst.
“These are events that affect our military, our veterans and our active service people and for years it’s something we’ve never discussed.”
Add in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and first responders and members of the armed forces are under more strain than ever.
“Now is the time that we’re finding more and more vets and first responders are suffering immensely,” says Hurst.
It’s why at the end of February Hurst will join seven other team members for the Wounded Warrior Run B.C., a 640-kilometre relay style event winding from Port Hardy to Victoria.
“This will be the first time I’ve run it, we were supposed to run last year but of course COVID postponed everything,” says Hurst.
“Our [fundraising] goal this year is $250,000, all of which that money stays on Vancouver Island to support partners, spouses and veterans and first responders.”
While the run won’t be easy Hurst is looking forward to meeting the first responders and veterans that the donations support along the way.
“That’s what this is about and this is about helping people who are in a position now where they just can’t help themselves anymore,” says Hurst.
The Wounded Warrior Run BC kicks off Sunday Feb. 6 with a run from Sooke to Sidney before taking on the rest of the island starting Feb. 27.
To donate to the run, visit the Wounded Warriors Canada website.