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Victoria Report: Honour Ranch making a difference to many

Honour Ranch near Ashcroft a safe haven for heroes in need
A Smudging Ceremony and Round Table event was held at the Honour Ranch near Ashcroft on Oct. 14, to acknowledge that the Ranch is on the traditional territory of the Nlaka’pamux people and show gratitude to the host Nation. Skeetchestn elder Terry Deneault (second from r) smudged the ranch house and cabins, and did a drum song opening and closing with Skeetchestn Councillor Marshal Gonzales (r). (Photo credit: Submitted)

By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart

Our uniformed responders — whether they be military veterans, police officers, paramedics, or other emergency workers — are the people who rush into situations most of us would run from. They exercise bravery and courage every day, and we thank them for their tireless efforts to keep people safe. But we also acknowledge these are the most stressful and dangerous of jobs, that can take a toll on one’s mental health.

That’s where Honour Ranch, just outside Ashcroft, comes in. Honour Ranch is a tranquil retreat and place of recovery for operational stress injuries including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The goal is to help these first responders find peace and comfort, and better equip them to navigate the emotional and physical stresses of their jobs. These services are offered to our valued military veterans as well.

Last month an Nlaka’pamux Tmixw Land Acknowledgement and Smudging Ceremony was held at the site. This event included a roundtable discussion with Honour Ranch representatives and local First Nations leaders about the need for this facility and the support it provides, as well as First Nations values and healing practices and opportunities to include them. This meaningful event opened the door for further learning, understanding, and discussion.

I want to thank the many people who have worked tirelessly to make Honour Ranch a reality, in particular the volunteers, tradespeople, and donors who have given their time, energy, and resources so generously. It is making a world of difference to our uniformed responders in their darkest hours.

I also want to extend my deepest condolences to the loved ones and colleagues of Burnaby RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang, who tragically lost her life on the job recently. My heart goes out to her police family struggling to comprehend the loss of this hero, taken far too soon.

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