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Giro d’Hero connecting corporate Canada with military personnel

Cycling from Toronto to Kingston in three days, the Giro d’Hero will bring together influential civilians and members of the Canadian Armed Forces in an effort to raise awareness for Forces@WORK.

The event, beginning Sept. 10, kicks off at the Toronto Air Canada Centre. The group will make several stops along the route including Newcastle, CFB Trenton, and CFB Kingston. Riders will have the opportunity to experience behind the scenes tours of CAF tanks, aircrafts and demonstrations for a naval rigid-hull inflatable boat.

The main focus of the first ever Giro d’Hero is Forces@WORK, a charitable organization that transitions injured and ill military members to the private sector. The organization has an 86 percent success rate, and 47 percent of people placed earn a higher pay rate than they did with the forces.

The ride is managed by PHL & Associates an organization that works with charities and is best known for its Ride for Heart cycling event that takes place annually raising funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Peter Hart President of PHL first became involved with the CAF as the managing director of Canada Company from 2011 to 2014. When he finished his contract with Canada Company, he was inspired to continue working with military members.

“When I got involved I had the opportunity over the years to spend a lot of time with members and veterans and spent time at some of the Canadian Force’s bases and naval ships and quickly I came to the realization that most Canadians don’t know much about our military and the incredibly important work they do on behalf of all Canadians. So that was number one, I felt there was a story to be told about how vital our military is to ensure the way of life we have in Canada… And then second of all, as a Canadian and a person people, I felt the very least we can do in the private sector is if we are connected to the corporate world to help you (military member) understand the corporate world better helps them (corporate world) better understand the incredible skills and services you have, and we’ll help you match up…it’s not a difficult thing for us to do and it’s the least we can do given the service of the members have given us. And I think when you add the ill and injured element it’s that much more important,” noted Hart.

The group of riders consists of civilians and four Canadian Forces members representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

“I think that’s very important because the civilians riding with us are majority of the riders, and so they’ll have an opportunity to engage with these members on the three days of the tour. Ride alongside, talk to them and share entertainment and just really get to know their Canadian Armed Forces better. They (the four CAF members) are essentially ambassadors of the CAF,” explained Hart.

A proficient cyclist, Kevin Devereux Vice President of North American Moving Services, a main sponsor of the event, is looking forward to the ride with people from all walks of life.

“It’s always nice to get different riders to ride with especially military people. It’s fabulous, and hopefully the weather will assist us too,” said Devereux.

He hopes the event will help the private sector understand why military members are a good fit for their companies.
“If we can get the word out that there are military people available when they come back from tours or are retiring from military it’ll be great for military personnel. They’re trained very well, they understand what a work schedule is, and they’re not afraid to work extra hours so it’ll be great to see the public and corporations come forward to hire people,” said Devereux.

The deadline for registration has been extended to Sep 7. Single day, as well as, the three-day tour, is available. For more information visit their website.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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