Four soldiers, three holding flags at the end of their walk to Ottawa

The Walk for the Wounded team raised about $35,000 for Wounded Warriors Canada. They walked from Garrison Petawawa to the National War Memorial in Ottawa in 36 hours. The Prosper Company was there to take their photo towards the end of the walk. (Submitted photo)

Walk for the Wounded raises $35,000 for Wounded Warriors Canada

By Patricia Lebeouf

Posted on Thursday August 20, 2020

Veteran Dylan Pace spent 36 gruelling hours walking from Garrison Petawawa to Ottawa to raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada.

He and his small “Walk for the Wounded” team not only completed the long journey, but managed to raise about $35,000 for their fellow brothers and sisters in uniform. The generosity of the military community as well as the community at large shocked and awed Pace, leaving him feeling humbled that so many were willing to donate to help ill and injured veterans.

“It’s very evident that people want change in this and want a better awareness and I think that fueled a lot of the generosity,” said Pace.

As the group of four walked down Highway 17, motorists would honk or shout out their support to cheer them on. A police escort organized by Wounded Warriors Canada kept them company during the final leg of the walk. Once they made it to their last stop at the National War Memorial, they were hailed as heroes, everyone offering their heartfelt congratulations.

“It was more than what we expected it to be,” said Pace.

He was astounded at how much assistance they received. This despite being relatively unknown in the world of fundraising and having organized the entire walk in only a few weeks.

One thing that didn’t surprise him, however, is how much the veteran community stepped up to offer whatever the team needed.

“It is such a community,” said Pace. “There is a bond with even those you don’t know or never met or never served with.”

Selecting Wounded Warriors Canada as their charity of choice wasn’t a difficult decision. The organization has helped many veterans and first responders with Operational Stress Injuries (OSI).

Though Pace hasn’t personally used their services, he has heard nothing but positive feedback. And they were there every step while he organized the fundraising walk.

“They were always asking what more they could do,” said Pace, adding representatives of the charity also came out to walk the last leg.

He is also incredibly grateful to all the sponsors and individuals who helped the team to raise so much money.

While the support was overwhelming, walking so far in such a short amount of time was no easy task.

He and his three friends laced up their boots just after midnight on Aug. 8 wearing their tac vests. They also stopped every hour to do 22 push-ups to mark the roughly 22 American veterans who took their own lives every day from 1999 to 2010, according to a United States Department of Veteran Affairs study on suicide.

He admits that around the 25 km mark, it hit him just how difficult the fundraising walk was going to be. His shin splints started acting up, and each step was very painful.

Despite that, he pushed through, knowing his pain was temporary while the pain military members and veterans with OSIs suffer is constant. Some of the team displayed the names of those they have lost on their vest so that every time they looked down, they could see why they were walking.

This knowledge allowed Pace to dig in deeper and continue. It wasn’t always graceful, but they all managed to complete the walk.

“At the end, most of us didn’t have a full stride,” said Pace. “It was more of a waddle.”

Pace hopes to continue fundraising for veterans and is considering turning the walk into an annual event.
“I want to go a lot further with this,” he said.