The Veterans Helping Veterans Golf Tournament is taking place at the Granite Ridge golf club in Milton, Ontario on September 3, 2015.
Organizer, veteran Fred Smith is a survivor of alcoholism, drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Smith now works as a frontline advocate for veterans struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
“I started Veterans Helping Veterans to help guys get off the streets. The upcoming golf tournament is our first fundraiser. It will mean I can go into the shelters and help more people find the help they need,” said Smith.
Smith encourages all friends and supporters of Veterans Helping Veterans to join them for dinner, even if they do not golf. Special guests Walter Gretzky and Ron MacLean will be there telling stories and signing autographs. Major Jay Feyco from Soldier On will be present as well.
“The whole purpose of the fundraiser is to raise money to support our veterans, serving soldiers and families, whether they are living on the streets, hungry or in need of programs, to get the help they need. The dollars raised will help me to work directly on the streets and in the shelters with those guys and gals,” said Smith.
Smith founded Veterans Helping Veterans 10 years ago. He funded his work with the money he received from his own disability claims.
For the past decade, through his organization Smith has worked with more than 3,000 people seeking some sort of intervention. Many of the people he has helped are veterans just like him.
“I reached my breaking point in 2006 when one of my sons committed suicide. I went to the hospital. When I was there I saw a psychiatrist, who told me I was significantly injured due to what I saw and went through in the Golan,” said Smith.
He was finally diagnosed with PTSD.
He began working with other veterans with mental health, alcohol, and addiction issues in a meaningful way. Through that work, Smith says he found a purpose in life and hope.
“The golf tournament is a way to support the work that I do. The work gives me purpose, and the work makes a difference in the lives of homeless, addicted, ill and injured vets,” said Smith.
Smith is mandated himself to reach out to at least one veteran every single day. He believes his work to be simple; he directly connects veterans to resources available to them.
If a veteran needs help, he or she needs simply to contact him to get the ball rolling.
For more information on Veterans Helping Veterans programs and their upcoming golf tournament please visit www.veteranshelpingveterans.ca.