SABLE RIVER, N.S. – A donation of a bandsaw mill by Military Minds Inc. will help Rally Point Retreat in Sable River build upon its foundation as a non-profit haven for veterans and first responders suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
About a dozen members of Military Minds paid a visit to the Sable River retreat and home of Bob and Johan Grundy on Aug. 5 to make the donation before heading out on their second annual Rolling Barrage, a cross-country motorcycle ride in support of veterans, serving members and first responders, as a show of strength and unity to conquer the stigma of PTSD.
The bandsaw mill will be used to mill all the downed trees on the property from last winter into lumber, which in turn will be used to build a cabin that is needed to house veterans and first responders seeking help. “That way the veterans and first responders can actually pull together and work together as a team and create the lumber that we need to build the cabin,” said Johan.
Since opening three and a half years ago Rally Point Retreat and the Grundy’s have been kept busy. “We’ve been fulltime since November,” said Johan, with guests from Northern Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and from throughout Nova Scotia. One guest has come back this summer to help out with projects around the house.
Rally Point Retreat is a labour of love for the Grundys and is totally operated by volunteer effort and donations.
“We don’t have charity status as yet so we can’t apply for any federal funding or government funding and a lot of bigger corporations, because we can’t give receipts yet, haven’t been too helpful,” said Johan, “but other organizations like the Fallen Heroes Softball Tournament last summer gave a donation, Military Minds made a major donation, the RCMP veteran association has donated, the Mahone Bay Legion, Ship’s Galley, they are very supportive of Rally Point, as are Tim Horton’s and Sobeys in Shelburne. Anytime we have an event I just let them know and they help.”
Rally Point Retreat is a non-profit society with a board of directors comprised of retired members of the Canadian Forces, RCMP, paramedics, first responders, the provincial government, and private sectors. “This is a “safe” zone for people with PTSD, to visit and interact with others dealing with the same sort of issues, reactions, and feelings. It is peer support and help with the social issues encountered on a daily basis,” states the website. While Rally Point does not have an on-site clinician at this stage of development to provide therapy, but they can assist in connecting persons to professionals.
Rally Point Retreat will be holding an open house on Sept. 29 to coincide with Sable River Volunteer Firefighters Day. All are welcome to drop by. Rally Point Retreat is located at 1478, Highway 3, Sable River.
Rally Point Retreat not only helps veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, the haven also opens its doors to firefighters, police, peace and corrections officers, paramedics, first responders, 911 operators and journalists for no charge.
“They have already paid the ultimate price,” said Johan. “We’re not going to ask them for money.”
At present, Rally Point Retreat can accommodate up to seven or eight guests at a time. “I wish we were getting a lot more people,” said Bob. “I wish we were seeing far less suicides. Suicides are still happening. People still don’t understand the full effects of what PTSD does to the body. The story that its only a mental disorder is wrong. It has as many physiological elements to it as it does psychological elements to it.”
said he would like to get first responders and veterans associations to show up on-mass and “do an overhead shot of this place to show the government the peer-to-peer support that these types of retreats have. Even though they (government) say they are going to support you, I don’t know what that looks like. If you’re going to talk the talk, you should walk the walk. We’re trying our best to walk the walk. We’re all in on this. We have given everything that we can give.”