Wounded Warriors stop Port Alberni an emotional one

Port Alberni RCMP Cst. Maria Marciano leads the Wounded Warriors runners into Port Alberni on Thursday afternoon. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Sydney Fournier holds up a homemade sign for Port Alberni RCMP Cst. Maria Marciano as the Wounded Warriors arrive in town. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Friends of Port Alberni Cst. Maria Marciano cheer her on as the Wounded Warriors runners arrive in Port Alberni on Thursday, Feb. 27. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni RCMP Const. Maria Marciano, a member of the Wounded Warriors BC run, and other teammates greet a packed room at a fundraising spaghetti dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 293 on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Wounded Warrior runner Maria Marciano, a constable with Port Alberni RCMP, shares an emotional moment with Sharon Entner, whose son Const. Doug Rentz died suddenly a year ago while off duty. Marciano and Rentz worked the same watch. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
The Wounded Warriors team poses for a team photo outside the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 293 in Port Alberni on Feb. 27, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Members of the public as well as some of the late Const. Doug Rentz’s family members sign a Wounded Warriors flag that travelled with the team for the duration of the eight-day run across Vancouver Island. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Wounded Warrior runner Mike Bowen, with the Canadian Coast Guard, runs the Hump—the Alberni Summit—on Highway 4 on the way to Port Alberni on Feb. 27, 2020. (JOHN W. PENNER/ John’s Photography)
Port Alberni RCMP Const. Maria Marciano thanks several of the Alberni Valley first responders who helped raise $6,100 for the Wounded Warrior BC Run. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

The arrival of the Wounded Warriors BC Run in Port Alberni was celebrated throughout the community on Feb. 27, 2020.

Eight runners ran the length of Vancouver Island, starting in Port Hardy on Feb. 23, to raise funds for Wounded Warriors Canada. The event concluded on Sunday, March 1 in Victoria.

READ MORE: Wounded Warrior Run gets personal for Port Alberni RCMP participant

The group was led into Port Alberni on Thursday, Feb. 27 by local RCMP Const. Maria Marciano. Her friends and colleagues cheered her on as she rounded Highway 4 into the Alberni Valley.

Marciano asked to join the run last year after a fellow constable from her watch, Doug Rentz, died suddenly at home while off duty. He was 41. The anniversary of his death was a few days before the run arrived in town.

“It was amazing,” Marciano said of running down the Hump into Port Alberni. “Seeing the first responders, paramedics, fire, and my own guys, the RCMP, it shows that we are all in this together. We are all working for the same goal.

“Mental health has always been a priority for me,” she reiterated.

“Mental health has always been a priority for me,” she reiterated.

“Losing my partner, Doug, really brought everything to the forefront for me. I really wanted to bring awareness to mental health and to the great work that Wounded Warriors does, and to their great programs.”

Rentz’s mother Sharon and other family members attended the dinner. Sharon was appreciative for all the work the Legion and other volunteers put into bringing the run to Port Alberni for the second year in a row.

“It’s through their shared values and commitment along with Wounded Warriors Canada and their common goal of raising awareness, helping and supporting veterans, first responders and their families that made the evening a success,” she said the next day.

“Families too suffer emotional trauma and injury and need help and support as well. It applied to the families of the fallen and the living. I’m especially glad to hear there is a program initiated for children,” she said.

“The runners especially deserve much gratitude. It was each of their individual efforts on the team that made the 600-kilometre run happen. Their commitment, dedication and determination for the vision and the goal of the Wounded Warriors is the reason we were gathered at the Legion.

“All these wonderful, strong people need to be acknowledged and applauded. They are an inspiration to us all.”

“Families too suffer emotional trauma and injury and need help and support as well. It applied to the families of the fallen and the living. I’m especially glad to hear there is a program initiated for children,” she said.

“The runners especially deserve much gratitude. It was each of their individual efforts on the team that made the 600-kilometre run happen. Their commitment, dedication and determination for the vision and the goal of the Wounded Warriors is the reason we were gathered at the Legion.

“All these wonderful, strong people need to be acknowledged and applauded. They are an inspiration to us all.”

Various emergency personnel put on three fundraisers and collected $6,100 to give to the run in Marciano’s name.

A fundraising dinner for Wounded Warriors took place at the Royal Canadian Legion (Victoria Quay) after the runners arrived in town and had a chance to check into their hotel. The West Coast Highlanders Pipes and Drums piped the runners into the Legion, and also provided entertainment toward the end of the night.

The spaghetti dinner, donation from the Legion women’s auxiliary and auctioning off of two rare Wounded Warriors challenge coins netted more than $2,500. The run raised nearly $200,000 in eight days; 100 percent of the funds raised will stay on Vancouver Island.

Wounded Warrior Canada

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