Pro;les of Costco members who
have developed meaningful ways
to give back to those who serve
or have served our country.
AFTER RETURNING from a deployment
overseas, Kelly, a veteran, was su;ering
from post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD). Her anxiety was so severe she
couldn’t leave her house. Her marriage
was failing. She contemplated unhealthy
ways to cope with the pain.
Then, Spot came into her life. An
Australian shepherd trained as a service
dog, Spot could sense when she needed
support, nudging her hand when he
sensed her discomfort and waking her
from nightmares. Six months later, Kelly
could go out in public; within a year, she
spoke publicly about her experience.
“Spot saved my life,” Kelly told
Costco member Colleen Dell, a professor and researcher at the University of
Saskatchewan who studies the relationship between animals and humans.
Since ;;;;, Dell has been working
with Audeamus ( audeamus.ca), a not-for-pro;t organization that provides certi-;ed service dogs free of charge to veterans
who su;er from PTSD, mild traumatic
brain injury, anxiety, depression and
“We hear story after story … about how
the dogs saved yet another life,” Dell says.
“The veterans say, ‘There’s no way I would
be here right now.’ ”
Since its launch in ;;;;, Audeamus
(Latin for “May we dare”) has provided
more than ;;; dogs—including Spot—to
veterans across Canada.
Dell is following the veterans’ progress, assessing whether the dogs make a
difference in their recovery. So far, the
evidence is overwhelmingly positive.
Says Dell, “I’m a researcher, so I always
come in objectively. … But you just cannot
walk away when you see how these dogs
save lives.”—Jessica Natale Woollard
IT TOOK a troubling statistic reported on CBC Radio to goad
Costco member Ray Pavlove
“The report said more
Canadian troops com-
mitted suicide than were
killed in Afghanistan, and
that statistic bothered me
a lot,” recalls the ;;-year-
old retired elementary
school principal from Parry
Sound, Ontario. “Ho w sad is that?”
So the air force veteran decided
to channel his love of curling into a show
of support and gratitude for armed ser-
vices members and veterans who are suf-
fering from mental health issues. The
;rst Curlers Care ;-; Support Our Troops
Bonspiel ( curlerscare.ca) was held in
;;;;. Parry Sound curlers have raised
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;;;,;;; since then. Other munic-ipalities—Edmonton; Ottawa;
and Chatham, Ontario—
have followed suit. Curlers
raise funds by acquiring pledges. The money
raised goes to help military personnel in their
Pavlove hopes his cause
will inspire the country’s
;,;;;-plus curling clubs, which
comprise more than ;.; million curlers, to stage similar events in their hometowns. He and fellow organizers are even
Kelly, a veteran, with Spot.
FOR COSTCO member Shawn Hambley,
meeting an Afghan war veteran who
was not only close to his age, but also
homeless, was a humbling and motivating experience.
Hambley, 25, has been named a
“Halifax Hero” for his volunteer work as
the Nova Scotia field operations manager for Veterans Emergency Transition
Services (VETS; vetscanada.org) Canada.
VETS is a non-profit charity that partners
with Veterans Affairs Canada to help
homeless and at-risk veterans, many of
whom are coping with mental and physical injuries related to their service.
“We do our best to help them out and
to get them back up on their feet,” says
Hambley, who serves with the Royal
Canadian Navy as a logistics officer in
his day job.
With help from a team of close to 20
volunteers across Nova Scotia, Hambley
responds to about 10 calls for assistance
each month. When he’s not visiting
homeless shelters and letting people
know he’s there to help, he’s providing
grocery store gift cards, navigating government forms to help someone get
their proper benefits or securing affordable housing for a veteran.
Raised in a military family, Hambley
is grateful to have a meaningful way to
give back. He says, “With every success
story, you just get more and more motivated to help.”—Allison Lawlor
A HELPING HAND
Shawn Hambley (left) with VETS
co-founder Jim Lowther.
willing to visit communities to share tips
and o;er advice on ho w to stage a bonspiel.
“This is more about creating awareness and showing appreciation of our
troops,” he says. “A lot have visible scars,
yet it is the invisible scars that are hard to
identify because they don’t step forward.
We need to support them.”—Kelly Putter