YARMOUTH - Todd Muise, a former member of the Royal Canadian Regiment, says he was talking to a new acquaintance this winter who told him he likes to rucksack march to pass the time when he exercises.
That’s when Muise got the idea of organizing a rucksack march to help raise awareness about the support groups available for veterans suffering with PTSD, operational stress injury, anxiety, depression or substance abuse.
Last year, he and Andre Boudreau (both members of the Wedgeport legion) launched a coffee group, inviting veterans troubled by painful memories to meet with them and others in informal coffee sessions on Monday evenings 6:30-8 p.m.
Muise says support groups like Wounded Warrior, Atlantic Heroes and Rally Point Retreat are open to not just veterans, but also firefighters, paramedics, police officers and others.
The April 14 march will be open to everyone – veterans and non-veterans – and a rucksack is optional, but Muise and Boudreau do encourage participants to wear one.
“This was our meat and gravy, how we got from A to B. We loaded up with 100 pounds or whatever we had that needed to be loaded and off we went,” said Muise.
He added that they are hoping a group from Greenwood participates. He’s also getting registrations from RCMP and cadets.
He emphasizes that the event, which starts at the Yarmouth cenotaph and proceeds through Dayton and Hebron to the memorial at Maple Grove School and back to the Yarmouth legion, is not a race, but an organized march.
A military vehicle will lead the way starting at 9 a.m. RCMP and fire departments are also participating. Muise’s goal is for the march to move along at the rate of 10-15 minutes per kilometre. It is a 14 km march and a slower pace would take three or four hours to complete. “It’s a challenge. Andre and I know. I walked one Sunday and did 11 km with a rucksack. My shin splints came back, my shoulders hurt. It felt good,” said Muise.
“The last time I did one I was 50-some-odd years old in Gagetown,” said Andre.
Those who can only complete half the march can still compete. Organizers just ask that you notify them before leaving.
“We just want to keep track of the numbers and don’t want to leave anyone behind. We do it as a group. That’s our motto ‘Leave no one behind,’” said Muise.
The event is jointly-sponsored by the Yarmouth and Wedgeport legions. Tables will be set up at the finish of the march at the Yarmouth Legion with refreshments and information on support groups.
Donations are welcome in support of Rally Point Retreat, Sable River, Shelburne County.
For more information about the march or support groups
Todd Muise cell 902-746-3959 email
Andre Boudreau: cell 902-746-9170 email