Governor General Julie Payette, centre, with Paul and Terry Nichols of The Forge. The local pair received Meritorious Service Medals earlier this year in Ottawa for their work supporting veterans. Contributed photo

Fundraising event scheduled for local PTSD therapy programs

Helping Pen-Y-Bryn Farm’s The Forge programs heal the veteran community

Eighteen per cent of all Veterans Affairs Canada benefits received by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have been for a mental health condition, with 73 per cent of those receiving it specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Stats Canada.

That’s exactly why Cariboo residents Paul and Terry Nichols, the owners and operators of Pen-Y-Bryn Farm in Kersley, have created The Forge, a program dedicated to provide veterans, RCMP officers and first responders suffering from PTSD or Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) with local, residential therapy programs in a rural farm setting.

A fundraising event is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 from 4:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, Williams Lake Branch 139 to raise funds for The Forge Program at Pen-Y-Bryn Farm.

David Brideau, a veterans liaison officer for the Royal Canadian Legion in Williams Lake, says the community has already been incredibly encouraging regarding the programs at The Forge.

“There’s absolutely been a great reception,” says Brideau. “Everyone who I’ve approached here in town and explained to them what The Forge is about, they’ve all been incredibly receptive and supportive.”

Furthermore, Brideau states that the response from veterans has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“The general response as far as I’ve come to understand is that it has been a very successful program for veterans to access the tools within themselves to cope with their day-to-day lives,” explains Brideau.

Brideau’s job entails reaching out to find resources to help veterans with the multitude of difficulties. He says that it is often difficult for many veterans to meet with psychologists for their PTSD, due to issues arising from travel.

“As far as British Columbia goes, the thing that I’ve encountered as a veterans liaison and helping out the veterans in our communities, is that the closest place for a veteran who lives in the Cariboo to go to for an OSI clinic would be Victoria or Vancouver,” says Brideau.

“In order for that to happen, they would most likely have to be transferred by airplane to go there. If you have someone who is affected by PTSD, getting into a small airplane in a confined space, it can be very difficult. The same can be said for being at an incredibly busy airport, like in Vancouver. There are a lot of possible triggers, even before they would be able to see a psychologist.”

That’s exactly why Brideau believes a facility like The Forge — located just outside of Quesnel — is so important for local veterans.

“It’s very important to me and to the veterans in our province, and the country, to understand that there are programs like The Forge,” says Brideau. “They are more localized, more centralized, and they are able to help and support veterans with their programs.”

The Forge was created by Canadian Army Veteran Paul Nichols, and it offers a variety of therapeutic activities, including group and individual therapy sessions, massage, body work, yoga and equine therapy.

One of the key elements of the programs highlighted by The Forge is the Equine Assisted Mindfulness Therapy, a therapeutic method where individuals are paired with an equine partner during their stay to enhance self-awareness and improve relationship skills.

Ultimately, for Brideau, putting on a fundraiser for the The Forge is about building awareness to the program that has been so helpful to so many veterans.

“What I’m really trying to do with this fundraiser is to make sure the public understands that it is for all veterans, first responders and RCMP suffering from PTSD,” says Brideau. “It’s a program that is available for anyone suffering, and it’s something that could truly help them out.

“I want to help Paul Nichols get to that next stage for his program, so that fundraising wont be as necessary, and that the program is recognized and funded by Veterans Affairs.”

Two hundred tickets have been printed for the fundraiser, and Brideau is hoping for a great turnout. Local favourites One in the Chamber will be performing, as well as featured guest speakers and comedians from Prince George.

A dinner, door prizes, 50/50 draw and silent auction will also be featured at the fundraiser. Tickets are available at The Man Cave barbershop in Williams Lake, as well as at the Williams Lake Royal Canadian Legion through Brideau.

Just Posted

Forestry Ink: Part 2 – History of 1950 Chinchaga firestorm

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about what was learned from the 1950 wildfire

Celebrating Filipino heritage in Quesnel

The Filipino Canadian Community of Quesnel hosted a Filipino Heritage Month Celebration on June 15

Quesnel’s OAPO celebrates 60 years

Columnist Ginnie Dunn Webb writes about the organization’s history

Quesnel Sealions start season strong

Many swimmers earned best times at Mackenzie meet

North Cariboo Christian School hopes to expand track and field meet

Five schools from Quesnel and Williams Lake took part this year

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read