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Calgarians walk in support of veterans to raise awareness for mental-health initiatives

Calgary veterans, both active and retired, walked alongside family members and friends for the sixth annual Canadian Walk for Veterans on Saturday at South Glenmore Park.

The five-kilometre walk aims to raise awareness for the families of veterans who play a critical role in enhancing the support of those who suffer from service-health-related conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Calgary veterans, both active and retired, walked alongside family members and friends on Saturday at South Glenmore Park.

"My father was a survivor of the residential school system in Manitoba, but he was also a veteran and I want people to know that there is hope, no matter where you came from," Karen Braun-Prince said.

Braun-Prince is the youngest daughter of Tommy Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, one of the most decorated war veterans in Canada, awarded 11 medals for his service in the Second World War and the Korean War.

"That's really just who he was, which is truly amazing," Braun-Prince said.

Tommy Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation was awarded 11 medals for his service in the Second World War and the Korean War. (Courtesy: Department of National Defence)

Her story is one that resonates with family members of veterans who selflessly paid the ultimate sacrifice.

As are the stories of others.

Murray Marshall is the proud father of Sapper Steven Marshall of Calgary, who died at the age of 24 on Oct. 30, 2009, while on foot patrol in the Panjwai district in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Murray Marshall says his son, Sapper Steven Marshall of Calgary (pictured), getting into the military was a calling.

"One of the last photos of him I have is of him smiling, so positive to the very end," Marshall said.

"With no pressure, he chose to get into the military, following in his grandfather's footsteps. It was a calling.

"When veterans come back from war, they're lost because of the camaraderie of the units and everything they have when they're serving is something we'll never understand. They look for employment, things to do to keep them busy, but sometimes there's a stigma with PTSD issues."

Net proceeds of this year's Canadian Walk For Veterans will go to the valuable work of the Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) situated in regions where in-person events are held.

Calgary veterans, both active and retired, walked alongside family members and friends on Saturday at South Glenmore Park.

Adriel Allen, community engagement co-ordinator with the Calgary MFRC says her team's dedicated staff are frontline service providers responsible for connecting military families to a wide range of mental-health resources.

"Some people are still struggling to reach out for support, but I think as they see other people getting support from us, it's really important to them and they can see that we are able to provide those things," Allen said.

"I would just say to the veterans that we're here to support you, that you are so valuable to us and to our country and we are so grateful for you."

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