By Rhonda Massad
The Veterans UN NATO support group opened up their doors out of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ste. Anne de Bellevue in May 2014. According to president Hugh Lawson, the group’s main mission is to get their brothers and sisters in arms out of isolation; give them back the flavour of life and create a favorable healthy environment and confidence because we are all united by common experiences.
Members are a group of active and former military members who have served a minimum of one mission under the command of the UN or NATO.
“UN NATO helps those who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) get back into the world. It is a place where they can talk over their challenges or just hang out with people who have been there.” Lawson told The Suburban in an interview.
“Our meetings are open to all vets, ex-military, and serving members of the Canadian Forces.”
“It is a much needed service. We help people manage post-military,” he continued, “once you are released from the military you are cut off. It is like losing a hand, you want to use it but you cannot. Resources are very limited. You feel cut off from anything you know.”
Lawson explained that the group does not provide counselling but guidance about where to go.
Members pool their resources to help each other get readjusted. It can be as simple as people miss being with other people from the military.
Members wear their patch with pride because it represents who they are. There is no annual fee, no membership and no association fees. All you have to disburse to become and remain a member of Veteran UN-NATO Canada is the price of the patch. All meetings and activities are voluntary.