Veteran Mike Terry is traveling 22,000 kms across Canada and collecting Veterans’ stories along the way.
Former 2 RCR soldier riding across Canada collecting veterans’ stories
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday July 12, 2018
Veteran Mike Terry is looking to keep the Canadian Armed Forces community connected, supported and engaged by collecting veterans’ stories. “The idea is to get people talking,” he said, adding that he will be making a stop in Petawawa on July 13.
The interviews will be done on video, then edited and later shared on social media. He hopes that by shedding light on the highs and lows of military service and what happens after, more people will be comfortable talking about their own experiences. He just wants to encourage people to talk openly and honestly, even if it is just amongst each other or to loved ones, far away from the camera.
The idea to create his Dispatches - Ride for Veterans project was inspired by the bravery others have shown in opening up about their struggles. He then decided to put his own spin on it.
On a motorcycle, the former 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR) soldier is traveling 22,000 kms throughout Canada from coast to coast and up to the northern territories to hear from people who have experienced everything the military has to offer. He wants to encourage positive reflection on service, bringing out some of the funnier aspects of being in the army and going on deployments.
Yet he also wants veterans to have a platform where they can publicly share their struggles, challenges, and issues. He then wants to know how they have found passion or purpose after service. “Because another big thing that veterans experience, injured or not, is that loss of being part of a team and something larger than themselves,” said Terry. “One of the most important things we can do as veterans when our service is concluded is to get on to our next mission,” he added.
Connecting with other veterans will also help him heal. His release from the military wasn’t the smoothest and now that he is in a small town for school, he finds that he is feeling isolated. “I knew that I had to find purpose,” said Terry, “because me being isolated and stewing in anger was a recipe for disaster.”
So Dispatches - Ride for Veterans is his new mission. “I needed a purpose and I needed a challenge,” he added.
The 23-year veteran has the background necessary to make the journey. His last job was as an Image Technician and he spent some of his career as a dispatch rider. “I was actually one of the last dozen or so dispatch riders who were qualified in Canada before the program ended,” said Terry.
It will be a long journey, but he’s planned it well. He keeps people updated on his whereabouts on social media and follows a carefully detailed map, as he wanted to reach as many areas as possible, particularly towns where military garrisons, bases and wings are located. “I also wanted to drive to as many provinces and territories as I could,” said Terry.
Reception has been positive. Both civilians and military members have rallied behind him, especially after he shared his own story on film. “Sharing that was terrifying,” said Terry. “I didn’t know what kind of response I would get.” But many have reached out to him, surprising him with their kindness and understanding. “It was a pretty overwhelming response, especially from other service members,” he said. “I was most worried showing them that vulnerability.”
For more information, to look at stories or to donate, please visit www.gofundme.com/dispatches2018 for the full details.