Honour Ranch: creating a safe-haven for Canadian military and first-responders

The facility will hold a ceremonial launch on Saturday, Oct. 5 before offering services in 2020

Honour Ranch: creating a safe-haven for Canadian military and first-responders

A new safe-haven for first responders and military veterans will soon be open in Ashcroft, providing critical mental health support and services to the community at large.

Honour Ranch will hold a ceremonial launch for the public on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. as it prepares to launch its services to help first responders and veterans in the area, beginning in the new year.

“We’ll start treatment in early 2020,” said honourary colonel Allan De Genova, who is also the president and founder of Honour House Society. “The main lodge is ready and we’ll be working towards another ten cottages.”

After the launch on Oct. 5, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and various professionals will be visiting the ranch to continue setting up the programs needed to provide support for those suffering from PTSD and other mental illnesses.

During the first responders mosaic unveiling ceremony in Ashcroft on Sunday, Sept. 22, De Genova experienced first hand just how impactful Honour Ranch could be when he was approached by a local RCMP member who described how desperately he needs the ranch to open.

“He said ‘I will be there.” I couldn’t believe it,” said De Genova, recalling how emotional the moment was for both he and the man in need of mental health support.

The interaction left Honour House’s founder feeling more inspired than ever to continue his mission to help other veterans and first responders recover and thrive.

Related: Stronger together: first responders mosaic helps Ashcroft and Cache-Creek heal through art

Until services and support are offered at Honour Ranch, interested individuals can reach out for help in the interim by contacting De Genova directly or visiting the Honour House website online. He personally knows of many men and women in uniform who will benefit from the mental health services and support provided by Honour Ranch.

De Genova was inspired to start the ranch after the loss of his friend and veteran Joseph Allina, who completed three tours in Afghanistan but passed away from suicide last July. Allina’s partner, a Surrey RCMP member, has suffered in the time since then, explained De Genova. She will be there for the launch on Oct. 5.

“If I would have had honour ranch up and running, I would have saved Joe,” said De Genova. “I feel bad about that and so Joe is truly my inspiration behind getting this ranch up and running. I think about him every day and I’ve been pushing to get here, which is really a miracle thanks to the TNRD.”

De Genova expressed his thanks to Ashcroft’s Mayor and Council and everyone involved for their support in making Honour Ranch a reality.

“I think most people didn’t think this was going to happen,” he said. “I don’t think they expected it to happen so quickly, but I have to make this happen because every day we’re not open is a day we’re not saving lives.”

“Your community is feeling the pain,” he added. De Genova sympathizes with the combined adversities faced by residents of Ashcroft and Cache-Creek in recent years and hopes Honour Ranch can help.

From losing a local fire chief to facing wildfires, floods, and mudslides, both communities have endured significant challenges over the past two years.

De Genova emphasized that the trauma that first responders experience on a daily basis can have significant impacts on their lives and mental health. His hope is that Honour Ranch will be a place for those individuals to feel safe and cared for.

“I can see it and feel it, like all of you, and I think this ranch will really help the greater community and all of British Columbia,” he said. “All of our first responders and military are a family and we need to look after them because they’re there to look after you virtually every day, 24/7, when you need them. They need help, they have nowhere to go, and that’s my job to look after them.”

“One size does not fit all when it comes to mental health,” De Genova added. “But we’ll be able to offer peer groups, counselling, they don’t have to feel like they’re in a clinical situation. I truly believe, from the homework we’ve done, that the setting we’re in, the proximity where we’re located, literally, we’ll save hundreds and hundreds of lives.”

Honour House opened in 2011 in New Westminster, offering free lodging to first responders and armed forces members who require medical treatment and care.

Honour Ranch itself sits on a 120-acre property 12 kilometres south of Ashcroft. Saturday’s ceremony will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. with official remarks beginning at 1:30 p.m. at 31-09 Kirkland Road. The event is open to everyone.

The day’s speakers will include captain Trevor Greene of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, honourable Judy Darcy, B.C.’s Minister of Mental Health & Addictions, Robert Parkinson, Health and Wellness Director for Ambulance Paramedics of BC, and De Genova himself.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit: http://www.sterlinglorence.com/)
Gravel is the new gold: Cyclist bumps new biking trend

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton

Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road — now Highway 97 — through Clinton. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Grant received for Cariboo Waggon Road restoration project north of Clinton

New Pathways to Gold hopes to start work this summer on restoring sections of historic road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Most Read