War isn’t something I’m familiar with. I have a veteran cousin and friends who’ve served, but all I know about service comes from the media. From whatever I hear on the radio. I can’t even begin to appreciate combat and the issues that come with it!
But sadly… far too many can.
We have over 100,000 military personnel in Canada, 2.4 million in the States, and countless family, friends and others supporting them. That’s countless people working through the repercussions of horrific experiences, surrounded by a world that doesn’t know or appreciate the difficulties Veterans face. It can be isolating—military life values pride, strength and being tougher than anyone else around you, so when invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse wreak havoc on military families, how do you learn to feel okay going in the opposite direction?
It’s questions like this where symposiums like True Patriot Love find their strength. In an environment where a stiff upper lip’s the norm, it made talking about the struggles often hidden behind closed doors acceptable with the hopes that one day we’ll reach the point where these issues become part of everyday military conversation.
Let me tell you a bit about it!
The True Patriot Love Foundation—Borne from a Need to Do More.
Ten years ago, our troops returned home from Afghanistan, and all was not well. Invisible wounds abounded, and we lacked the proper programs and supports to see our Veterans through their difficult transitions back to a world that wasn’t at war. Knowing the road ahead wouldn’t be easy, Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff challenged a handful of Toronto’s philanthropists to help.
In one short year, they put the True Patriot Love Tribute Dinner together, hosting 2,000 Canadians and raising a staggering $2 million for the cause! You see, those outside the Forces may not always understand, but they do care about our military, wanting ways beyond buying a poppy on Remembrance Day to support them. And support they have—through partners like Scotiabank, they’ve been able to run events like the True Patriot Love Expedition Series since 2012, pairing civilian business leaders with members of the Canadian Armed Forces for unique mentorship opportunities. And though these expeditions changed the lives of 30 Canadian Armed Forces members, engaged 50 influential business leaders and raised another $2 million in funding for the military, Veterans and their families since 2012, they realised they could still do more.
The True Patriot Love Multinational Symposium is more.
The True Patriot Love 2017 Multinational Symposium—An Open Forum for Things Often Kept Behind Closed Doors.
Held at Scotia Plaza’s second-floor conference centre, the True Patriot Love 2017 Multinational Symposium brought leaders from the not-for-profit, government and corporate sectors together to discuss the global impacts of injury on family. Bringing panellists and speakers together from across the world, it opened my eyes to issues I never imagined. They delivered each session with such brutal honesty that you weren’t walking out of there without feeling something.
It was a great way to ring in the 2017 Invictus Games—Prince Harry even stopped by to show his support, knowing how important these discussions were!
It comes down to this—no matter what you may think of war, we can all do something for our fellow humans, and that’s what True Patriot Love wants us to remember! With a little help, we can all live our best lives—we just need to commit to getting everyone there.
You Don’t Need a Symposium to Help Others—You Just Need the Will to do it.
I don’t know much about war, but that shouldn’t stop me from giving a damn. Yes, I have a Veteran cousin and military friends, but it isn’t just about the people I know. There are problems everywhere, and we need to do better at actually doing something to improve them. Sure, the world’s problems often seem bigger than any one of us can handle, but whoever said we need to do it alone? Scotiabank and True Patriot Love know there’s power in numbers, and with any luck, we’ll see you join those who want to make that difference happen.
Let’s build the world we want to live in!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a Scotiabank Ambassador, a program compensating for my thoughts and content with a stipend, unique opportunities, and exclusive access to Scotiabank staff and affiliations! It yields amazing experiences like this, but all thoughts and opinions, as always, remain my own!