Six thousand kilometres and 211 days.
A B.C. military veteran is wrapping up his across Canada horseback ride in Newfoundland.
It was in an attempt to show the country the changing face of veterans.
“I came home so proud of my service, the response I would often get: ‘Yeah, you were just a peace keeper.'”
Paul Nichols, 47, served as an infantryman in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.
But when he returned home to Quesnel, he was told he wasn’t a “real” veteran.
It prompted a mission across Canada, to make sure all veterans feel respected and valued.
“What I’ve heard all across Canada on this trip, I know Canadian people love us, and I know Canadian people will support us, if they know who we are. But there is such a belief, and such a misconception in this country, that our veterans are strictly the old boys who stormed the beaches of Normandy, and the truth is, we’ve got three more generations of troops that have done a hard job for this country. People are saying to me, this is a veteran’s ride, what are you doing with that young girl and a mechanic? Why are they riding horses through town with you? And I say, well actually, that young girl is a nurse at your hospital and she’s done two combat tours in Afghanistan, and the mechanic, he learned his trade int he army, and now he’s trying to make a go of it in your community. So that’s how we raise some eyebrows and create some discussion.”
Nichols says hundreds of veterans have joined him on his ride.