With 8 recent suicides, I have decided to share with you something that I have been working on since July when I was on the Bikers United in Remembrance Conga in support of our veterans.

One of my stops on the Conga was at the ANAVETS club in Kamloops.
Myra Boomhour had set up a BBQ to support the conga and while there, I was introduced to David Hughes. David told me of a Young Offenders Centre that is vacant and has agreed to help me obtain a lease on the property for a holistic healing centre that would be run by veterans for veterans.

The dream of a place where veterans could come and stay for the support, therapy, counselling, VAC admin supports ETC  that  they need started a long time ago with a chat that Trapper Cane of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units and I had.

He and I dreamt of this exact piece of land that is now within our reach.

30 dorm rooms with a private facility for the ladies, classrooms, commercial kitchen and laundry, work shop, gymnasium and a whole lot more!
Here are a few photos of the facility which is located on 150 acres and has a grazing lease of a further 240 acres and is close to a lake!

 As you can see from these photos, the place is in great shape and the BC Housing report reflects that.

Laundry Area

Work to the sewer system and fire sprinklers along with paint, cleaning and some elbow grease is really all this facility needs to be up an operational quickly.
The facility offers room to grow and expand as needed and is close to everything needed to provide the services veterans and their families desperately need.

Here is the Executive Summary of High Valley Veterans Centre:

High Valley Veteran’s Centre

Proposed Logos
Proposed Logos
High Valley Camp – the making of The High Valley Veteran’s Centre

Veterans Helping Veterans 

A C.A.V. Initiative

High Valley Veteran’s Centre will be a place where veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, can come to obtain:
NB: A special emphasis will be placed on veterans who have served less than 10 years and those who are in crisis and require special, immediate supports. 

High Valley Veteran’s Center will offer the veteran a holistic approach to civilian life integration where the services and supports that they need to thrive will be provided in an 
all-encompassing environment.

By drawing on the vast support network that is available in close proximity to the High Valley location, we will be able to deliver a wide array of programs and services to the veterans that require our support.

Because of its unique location near Logan Lake BC, High Valley Camp is the ideal property to become the High Valley Veterans Center.  As a former young offenders center it is already equipped with the core infrastructure the center needs to become viable quickly and efficiently.

The High Valley Camp as it is currently called provides for dormitory style living with a full gymnasium, industrial kitchen and laundry facilities, classrooms, administration offices, access to the lake along with 150 acres for expansion and a variety of ways to generate some income for itself including a 240 acre farm with grazing rights.  The facility provides for both male and female veterans to participate with separate housing for female veterans.

The High Valley Camp is the ideal facility for our purpose of saving lives and families, not only because of the facilities’ infrastructure, but because it offers a remote and quiet setting that is close to Kamloops and Kelowna Airports, rehab and job retraining services, medical services and Physio therapy services.

It is also close to Logan Lake and Merritt as well and within reasonable driving distance to Vancouver.

There are a reasonable number of jobs in the region working for mines and housing is affordable in Logan Lake for those who choose to stay in the region. Many of the jobs available to members of our program would be in places like Fort McMurray where they are in need of quality well trained employees.

High Valley Veterans Center – The Concept

When a veteran comes to High Valley, they will meet with their team: the clinical psychologist, the VAC Liaison, if needed, the nurse and the building/facilities administrator – their direct “boss”.

They will then be assigned a room and taken for a tour of the facility by the building administrator.

On day two, the veteran, together with their VAC Liaison and the psychologist, will map out a program designed for the unique needs of each individual veteran. Their progress and needs will be monitored weekly through meetings with their counselors and the building administrator and their programs adjusted accordingly.

The veteran will work at the facility, attend courses and counseling and assist in farming or gardening duties or PTSD dog training duties. They will be paid a wage; they will pay for their room and board.
Saturdays for all resident veterans would involve a full 6 hours of working on the facility and 2 hours working with the dogs or at farming or gardening chores.

Saturday evenings for those wishing and depending on where they are in the process, a van will take them to the social house of their choice; the RC Legion, ANAVETS Club or the Eagles Club in Kamloops and bring them home. 

An average day for one veteran may look like:
7 AM Breakfast
8 AM – work detail
12 Noon – Lunch
1:00 pm – Counseling session – Psychologist
2:00 – VAC Liaison session
3:00 – 5pm - Work detail
5:30 pm supper
6:30 – 8:30 PTSD Dogs

Another veterans schedule might be exactly the opposite, working with dogs first thing in the morning. And not every day will be the same in that they may only need counseling sessions 2 times per week, they may need them 5 days a week.

Some veterans may stay at our facility for 3 months and others may require a longer stay. 

The programs will be made to meet the needs of each individual veteran.

Their days will be structured to meet their civilian integration, job retraining or certificate courses and counseling needs and will provide far less stress as everything they need to access will be close by and where ever possible and feasible provided for them on site.

The goals of this method of service delivery are:
1: To provide a comprehensive, well rounded, individualized program of services
2: To ease the burden of therapy needs and financial constraints
3: To remove barriers to treatments and job retraining and integration services
4: To provide a reason for boots to hit the floor everyday
5: To provide hope

While the veteran comes here to help him or herself, they will aide the growth and enriched the lives of their fellow veterans by providing PTSD dogs, improving the facilities and supporting each other.

This centre will create jobs for Logan Lake and area residents as core support personnel needed to run the facility day to day will be required.

Those positions include; janitors, laundry staff, kitchen staff, secretary, receptionist, RN/LPN, paramedical staff and the farm manger. (We intend to keep the former farm manger, Joyce Shannon on staff)

Who we are:

This is a Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units National Initiative 
The board of directors for the High Valley Veteran’s Centre is comprised of a group of people who have backgrounds and first hand knowledge of working with PTSD sufferers and have been active in their respective communities in affecting change for our veterans.  

Paul “Trapper” Cane - Current National President and CEO of The Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units
Renee Charbonneau – CEO Belt Drive Betty Media
Graeme Hume – Sgt. Troop Warrant, Ret’d - Building Admin
Barry Drews – CAV Member
J. Brian Archer  - Citadel Canine Society

Advisory Council:
Medric Cousineau – Capt. Ret’d – Paws Fur Thoughts
David Hughes – Hughes Foundation
Canadian Veteran’s Advocacy - Mike Blais  (VAC Coordinator)
Dr. Dee Rajska – Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychologist

We have already formed partnerships with several service providers and are networking with every possible veterans support group possible. Groups like V.E.T.S., Wounded Warriors, True Patriot Love and many, many more have been contacted to ensure a streamline method of service delivery and no duplication of existing services.

The centre will cost approximately $4.5 million dollars a year to run and in it's first year of operation has the potential to impact upward of 200 veterans and their families.
We can provide as many as 120 veterans with hands on support and a further 72 with service dogs in our first year. We have a 10 year plan for expansion of the facility to incorporate cabins for family visits and a veterans village for those needing long term housing supports.

Preventing Suicides - A Tangible Solution

Our proposal has garnered letters of support from NDP Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer and several mental health professionals including Dr. Dee Rajska – Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychologist and Margo Butler of the John Howard Society.

Our biggest champion for this centre, outside of David Hughes and the Hughes Foundation, has been MP David Sweet who took our proposal to the office of Julian Fantino on our behalf.

Our proposal for the High Valley Veterans Centre is in the hands of Minister Fantino and his staff as I write this.  We have had our first discussion and provided the additional information th ministers office requested, now we need to have the power of positive thinking of every person who reads this - to have our funding request met with favour.

I am asking all of you who read about this centre to say some prayers, to help us make this centre a reality. 

PLEASE write your MP offering support for our centre - LIVES DEPEND ON IT!

I have written a sample letter for those unsure of where to start...


Dear              ,

With the announcement of the ninth suicide of a Canadian Forces Member, I as a Canadian citizen and taxpayer hear the screams for help of our military members and veterans who are battling with PTSD and other operational stress injuries.

I am writing to let you know that Minister Fantino's office is in possession of and reviewing, the application for funding and administrative liaison support for High Valley Veterans Centre, which will provide a holistic approach to helping our soldiers and veterans in reclaiming their lives.

You can see the Executive Summary for High Valley Veterans Centre by visiting the blog of the lady who is spearheading this project: Preventing Suicides - A Tangible Solution

I ask you to please review the information and then please, support the men and women who defend and protect our country, support their families and their rights to a brighter and better future.


John/Jane Q Citizen

Note from the Author, Belt Drive Betty - AKA Renee Charbonneau:

As a civilian survivor of PTSD, a member of the C.A.V. and a person who has multiple ties to the military, I was presented the right opportunity to spearhead a project that has the potential to save lives and decided to take the bull by the horns.

The support of those who have agreed to be on our board of directors and advisory council mean more than words can say.

Thank you for hearing me out folks,

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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