Pictured with a $5,000 donation from the Royal Candian Legion Branch 43 Poppy Fund to the Real Canadian Recreation Society were Zone Commander John MacLeod Langley (left) and branch 43 president Gary Burns (right), making the presentation to Retired Sergeant Tyson Bowen.

PORT HAWKESBURY: At their general meeting in March, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 hosted Retired Sergeant Tyson Bowen who gave an engaging overview of the project he is working on in Lorne to provide needed support to veterans, first responders and their families.

Supported by his father, Steve Bowen, together they put substance into the need for help for veterans, particularly those who are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Members agreed that support was warranted but with the COVID-19 lockdown and slow reopening, it was only recently possible to follow up.

Tyson, who retired after 14 years with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, talked about the struggles veterans have dealing with things from everyday life that can “trigger” stressful and debilitating memories.

He formed the Real Canadian Recreation Society under which they have purchased a 400acre property, which they are transforming in phases, the first two of which are for veterans and first responders.

“Real Canadian Recreation is an upcoming non-profit eco-adventure park, geared towards healing veterans through nature,” Tyson said. “We are working towards creating camp sites and trails dedicated to hiking, biking, all-terrain vehicles and off-road worthy vehicles while aiding and mentoring other veterans with PTSD.”

The list of individuals, groups and companies who are helping with material, sweat equity and funding is substantial.

On October 28, a contingent from branch 43 travelled up to Tyson’s project. There was no need to watch for house numbers as his project was visible from Highway 374 by way of the large sea-can facing the highway on which they had painted a large Canadian Flag mural.

President Gary Burns, Zone Commander John MacLeod Langley and Poppy Chair Rod Corbett were treated to an enthusiastic and uplifting tour of all the aspects of the project. At the conclusion of the tour, they presented Real Canadian Recreation with a much appreciated $5,000 donation from the Branch 43 Poppy Fund.

They left with a commitment to maintain close cooperation . The timing of this donation, during the 2020 Poppy Campaign, is another illustration of how the Poppy Fund monies go to directly support veterans.

For anyone wanting to follow the progress of this ambitious project, photos and videos are available through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/realcanadianrecreation/ and on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realcanadianrecreation/?hl=en.