CFB SHILO, Man. — A second Prairie Thousand bicycle tour will be coming trough Saskatchewan in August, as Sgt. Rod Nederlof sets out on his quest to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors PTSD support dog program.
Nederlof, currently serving with the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB SHilo, Man. plans to begin his ride at CFB Edmonton Aug. 11. His route will travel Highway 16 through Saskatchewan and conclude at Minnedosa. Man. Aug. 19.
“It’s a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts,” Nederlof said.
With three tours of duty under his belt and his own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience and having witnessed people who suffer from PTSD through their own service, Nederlof can attest, “It isn’t pretty.”
Nederlof and his wife Marina have, for the second year in a row, committed to raising money for the Wounded Warriors Support Dog Program. Last year their goal was $5,000 with a final tally of just over $19,000. He left Wawanesa, Man. and covered the 1,000 kilometres to Lethbridge in roughly two weeks.
This year, the Nederlofs are hoping to meet this year’s goal of $7,000.
“We want to keep our goal conservative,” Nederlof said.
“Anything after that is bonus.”
This year, Nederlof hopes to have the wind on his back as he covers just over 1,000 kms during his two weeks of leave from CFB Shilo.
The Wounded Warrior PTSD Service Dogs program has been in existence since 2012. They have contributed more than $3 million to training and pairing of PTSD service dogs according to their web site. The price tag to train a support dog is $15,000.
“We’re really in the midst of a mental health epidemic in the country,” said Wounded Warriors Canada National Partnership Director Steven Topham. “Our supporters have allowed us to meet the growing needs of those we’re servicing. Rob and Marina have played an instrumental role in this, and the impact a service dog can have on an individual.”
Funds raised in support of Wounded Warriors Canada PTSD Service Dog program will go directly to the organization to assist in training of the dogs.
But, the entire trip to Edmonton and back is coming out of the Nederlof’s own pockets.
That said, last year’s support of the Prairie Thousand bike ride was overwhelming and the Nederlofs are hopeful this trip will garner as much support from local organizations and media along the way.
Last year, Facebook, and Twitter updates were maintained by Marina from the side of the road and their campsites after driving the support vehicle behind her husband.
For anyone interested in joining Nederlof along the way, sponsor or donate towards the cause, message him on the Prairie Thousand Facebook page, website or email.
If his tour stays on schedule, Nederlof will travel from Maidstone to Battleford Aug. 14, and make stops in Saskatoon, Lanigan, Foam Lake and Yorkton before moving into Manitoba for the last two days of the journey.
To support Prairie Thousand, tag along or to connect with the PrairieThousand team, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PrairieThousand. A QR code on the page directly links you to the webpage, www.prairiethousand.weebly.com. Email email@example.com. For more information about Wounded Warriors Canada, see www.woundedwarriors.ca Twitter: @prairiethousand .