Biking 600 kilometres across Europe, stopping at unforgettable memorials like the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Memorial, Passchendaele Canadian Memorial and Vimy Ridge, as part of Wounded Warriors Canada’s (WWC) Battlefield Bike Ride 2017 (BBR17), was a significantly powerful journey for former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member Sherry Lachine.
It was at the precise moment that Lachine, her husband, her sister, her brother-in-law, and close friends were at the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial in France that Lachine’s nephew, her sister’s son, Jack McConkey, was being sworn into the CAF, thousands of miles away.
It was an emotional and significant moment for the family, made even more so by where they now stood.
“It was significant because we visited the graves of many young men who were Jack’s age. It was very emotional,” said Lachine.
This memorable moment was further amplified when her sister and nephew received special recognition by the rest of the riders on this year’s WWC BBR, during the stop at the Vimy Ridge Memorial.
It was right before this pack of family and close friends headed off for Europe that they found out Jack, 18, was to be sworn into the CAF. Taking part in the single largest fundraising event for Wounded Warriors Canada, an organization that supports ill and injured soldiers, took on even more meaning for Lachine because of her nephew.
That’s especially noteworthy considering the substantial meaning the bike ride already had for Lachine, a veteran who now works in the mental health professionals providing information on topics like mental health first aid to the veteran world and beyond.
“I really connect with what WWC is doing: honour the fallen, help the living.
“It’s what I’m trying to do with my practice, with my social enterprise that I’ve created. I want to remember the things that were done in the past, not to replicate them, but to respect the challenges and tragedies that people have gone through,” added the veteran.
Although Lachine was not an avid cyclist, she signed up for last year’s BBR, in order to support WWC. She dove right into the experience which turned out to be worthwhile in every aspect.
“I fell in love with the camaraderie and the cycling aspect,” remembered Lachine.
After a life-changing experience last year, Lachine decided to recruit her husband, sister, brother-in-law, and two close friends to join her on this year’s BBR commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which took place this past June.
“Watching them go through it all, the memorials, and that they were connecting with it as well, and the cycling, and the people, it was huge to see them go through it, but it was also really cool to support it,” noted Lachine.
To honour all those who served and those who will serve in the future, like Lachine’s nephew, the CAF veteran has made giving back to the veteran community a way of life.
Sherry and her husband are now gearing up for the Highway of Heroes Ride in early August. This will be her second year participating.
To learn more about the mental health services Sherry Lachine provides you can visit her website.