Veterans ride

Veterans ride across Canada to raise awareness for issues affecting them.

Monty Elliston

Early in the morning on Saturday, Aug. 22, Port Alberni’s Monty Elliston will be back in the saddle alongside his brother Ray, and taking a very special horse ride.

The Ellistons will be participating in the Ride Across Canada, supporting Canadian veterans.

The ride is 211-day horseback ride across the country that founder Paul Nichols developed to help bring awareness to contemporary veterans and their stories. Elliston, who is president of Royal Canadian Legion Br. 293 in Port Alberni, spent 32 years in the Armed Forces. He started as an apprentice with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1956 as an electrician. With integration in 1968, anyone serving on aircraft were considered airforce members, so Elliston moved to the air side.

He retired from the airforce in 1986.

Elliston’s brother Raymond, who lives in Almonte, ON, is three years younger and served 38 years with the Royal Canadian Regiment, retiring as a lieutenant colonel with the infantry.

The brothers were the second generation of men serving in the military: their father served in the Second World War then, when the war was over, joined the militia.

Elliston’s son started in cadets and served with the reserves and the regular force before retiring a couple of years ago.

Facebook photo

Ride Across Canada founder Paul Nichols speaks with Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole near Ajax, ON on Aug. 12 as Robert Buchanan, Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command District “F” Commander, looks on.

 

There are more than 540,000 veterans in Canada with an average age of 56. The Ride Across Canada will feature the faces and stories of more than 700 veterans from Victoria to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“In order to understand our veterans and their needs, it is imperative that we hear their stories and get a clear vision of who our veterans are,” the organizers of the Ride Across Canada state on their website.

Every veteran of the Armed Forces has a story and Elliston is no different. “I don’t have any horror stories,” he said. “I was never shot at.

“I served two tours in Europe during the Cold War and the families were there. Back in the late ‘60s it was still common practice for the wife and children to have a bag packed at all times in case of a bugout or an alert. So it was stressful for wives too.”

When Elliston first heard about the ride he got behind the effort. “Then my brother said it was something he and I could do together.

“It’s also showing support for veterans today,” Elliston said.

Raymond rides regularly in Almonte, boarding his own horse in a nearby farm. He has been involved with the ride in another capacity, setting up base camps in Kingston and Smith Falls, near Ottawa.

It has been a few years since Elliston has ridden a horse, he admits, but he is up to the challenge.

“The last time I rode a horse was with my brother’s horse, four or five years ago. But we both grew up with  my grandfather’s horses.”

He and Raymond will depart Kingston, ON on Saturday, Aug. 22 and ride the leg to Ottawa, arriving in the nation’s capital on Aug. 29.

Elliston will be an “official” rider for one of the days of their leg; for the others he and Raymond will switch riding Raymond’s horse and driving the truck and horse trailer. Once the ride is finished, the veterans’ stories will be published in a book. To follow the ride or to make a donation, please go online to www.communitiesfor veterans.com.

Elliston is accepting donations at the Legion in Port Alberni, and Branch 293 will match donations up to $200. There is also a Facebook page to follow the event at Communities for Veterans, the Ride Across Canada.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

Just Posted

VIDEO: Man extracted from vehicle eight hours after accident near Cameron Lake

People making pit stop at picnic area made crash discovery

Person extracted from vehicle accident in Cameron Lake

A person has been extracted today from a reported vehicle accident in… Continue reading

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Learn about Port Alberni’s mayoral candidates with new film series

Alberni Valley filmmaker Dallas Dalziel discusses key issues with candidates

City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

Kitsuksis Creek residents urged to use alternate drinking water source

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read