By Sharon A.M. MacLean
This is a different blog for me. I usually write about how to craft and publish messages for different groups of people using a relevant tone and vocabulary. Communications marketing is an art combined with science that frequently baffles folks in a crowded information age—especially in the digital sphere.
Well, this is a story that is not confusing, by any measure. It deserves to be told in as many ways, and on as many platforms, as possible with dignity and respect. And heart.
It begins with battle-scarred soldiers who protect the rest of us in times of war. Too frequently, these men and women come back injured, sometimes physically and, other times, with PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD develops differently from person to person after a traumatic event and symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.
The noted country singer Blake Emmons knew all about these wounds. As an Air Force veteran, he simply wanted to show our armed forces that somebody cared. He and best friend, Jimmy Chute, created an event last year with help from the local legion at Nipawin, Saskatchewan to share a weekend of world-class fishing, golf and a great outdoor experience. They called it the Wounded Warriors Weekend.
This year, it’s Alberta’s turn. The Royal Canadian Legion branch #110 in Slave Lake, Alberta will host a weekend for over 200 wounded warriors from Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK. It’s August 2 to 4 at Slave Lake.
You gotta know the residents of Slave Lake know something about trauma. They survived that horrific flood of 2011 and needed to rebuild their entire community.
So, it’s not surprising that Alberta’s Director Don Clark told me this story about Wounded Warrior’s sold-out golf tournament on May 28th at the Edmonton Petroleum Golf Club. Military men and women were the guests of their civilian hosts that day where 175 enjoyed golf, dinner, and a live auction that raised $36,000 for the Military Families Resource Centre and Wounded Warriors Weekend.
One of the live auction items was a Sidney Crosby hockey jersey. My blog followers probably know that Sidney Crosby scored the “Golden Goal” against the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and captains the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Crosby is a superstar and his jersey would raise a lot of money.
A military father, Dennis Merringer, desperately wanted that jersey for his son. Yet, anybody who’s been to an auction in Edmonton knows the bidding goes through the roof for such hockey memorabilia. Might be difficult for anyone on a military pay scale to compete with the bidding.
The packed banquet room fell quiet after the early spirited bidding wound down. Two remained—one at the front and another at the back of the crowded room; they couldn’t see each other. Somehow, word circulated to the front bidder that the other was military.
That’s when the guy in front, Greg Cameron, CEO at Noralta Lodge, stood up and invited his competing bidder to discuss strategy. At this point, the offer was at $950.
Something was up. Greg turned to Dennis and said, “Your last bid was $950. I am now bidding $975 and if you do not top that, I will pay the $975. You agree to take the jersey for you and your family in appreciation from all of us.
Yep. Not a dry in the room. Don Clark said every person at that event wished they could have done the same thing.
Please pay this story forward—share it with dignity, respect, and heart—for our Wounded Warriors.
The Wounded Warriors Weekend website is here: www.woundedwarriorsweekend.com