Journey along Ontario’s Bruce Trail helps Legion combat Veteran homelessness
OTTAWA, ON, 8 June 2023 – The Royal Canadian Legion is pleased to release a new video story reflecting the outstanding dedication of a group of men who support the Legion’s Operation Leave the Streets Behind program (Ontario division) to help end Veteran homelessness.
The men wanted to foster awareness and raise funds for the program which helps combat the devastating reality of Veteran homelessness in Canada. The trio did it by completing a 907 km journey along Ontario’s Bruce Trail. They arrived each night of their journey at a supportive Legion branch along the way – for food, sleep, and camaraderie.
“Legion Branches were instrumental,” says event founder Lino DiJulio. “We’d arrive and the Legion branch would do it in style, so sometimes you’d have a pipe band, they’d host a fundraising event that night so sometimes a barbeque.”
“Anything that we could do to help them meet their goal, more the better,” says Owen Sound Legion Branch President Ed Yates.
The “Ruck to Remember” grew out of DiJulio’s desire to help Veterans, himself unable to join the military. Retired Veteran friends Dave Ward and Joey DiMauro joined Lino in his most recent adventure in the summer of 2022.
“It’s a worthy cause and it’s our community, right?” says DiMauro, a retired reconnaissance soldier and gunner. “I know for a fact that if I had taken this turn or that turn, I could have ended up like a lot of those guys,” he says.
Ward, a retired military sniper, has struggled with health challenges himself and felt he could help Lino accomplish his goal.
“The target of this is Veterans,” he says. “Veterans that are homeless, Veterans that are struggling with mental health. I’m a person that’s dealing with it myself. And to be able to stand up and walk the talk and help Veterans is the most important thing.”
The team of three endured tough terrain and exhaustion, but also witnessed striking scenery and bonded as friends, coming away from the experience changed for the better. They also helped raise a large amount of money to help the Legion’s Leave the Street Behind program.
“We’re changing lives,” says Jen Leclair, coordinator with the Legion’s Ontario Command program. “It’s amazing to see, and the reaction is just heart-wrenching.”
View the full Ruck to Remember video story.
Learn more about the Legion’s work to help end Veteran homelessness.
Learn more about the Ruck 2 Remember group: https://www.ruck2remember.com/
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S. and Europe. With 250,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: PublicRelations@Legion.ca/ 343-540-7604 - Nujma Bond