Wounded Warriors Weekend comes to Border City

By Geoff Lee

July 12, 2017 1:40 PM

Wounded Warriors Weekend co-chairs Richard Dixon, left, and Ryan Ference, are looking for all types of sponsors to help defray the cost of fully funding a weekend of healing activities for up to 150 troops and first responders dealing with post traumatic stress disorder from July 27-31.GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

There will be two opportunities for the public to help heal our troops, veterans, and first responders dealing with invisible wounds.
Wounded Warriors Weekend, July 27-31, will host up to 150 Canadian and international armed forces members, veterans, first responders and their families, during private and open healing functions.
About 200 tickets to a Lt. Governor’s Gala supper are on sale to the public for a Saturday night of family-rated entertainment at the Wildrose Pavillion on July 29.
“We really want to sell the thing out,” said event co-chair, Ryan Ference.
“It shows that people are taking time out of their weekend and their summer to come down to the gala and enjoy a fine meal with us.”
He said it is very important to sell out the event for the soldiers and first responders to show we care.
“By attending, it really proves that,” said Ference.
The gala will feature wounded warrior American comedian, Bobby Henline, who turned to comedy to help himself heal from burns he suffered from a roadside bombing while serving in Iraq.
“I got to meet him a couple of times; he’s a really great guy and really funny,” said Ference.
“Laughter is the best medicine.”
Ference has been a reservist in Edmonton for six years, and has served with a lot of people who have gone into battle zones overseas, and are now suffering silently.
“So when I got in, I really saw the need for this, and that’s why I throw everything I have behind it,” he said.
“The public has to know what’s going on with all of our service members and first responders.”
Richard Dixon, the other co-chair of the special weekend, shares Ference’s conviction that it falls on all us to take care of them at this point.
“It’s extremely important for me to help out the vets and give the vets a fun tine and a free weekend here in Lloydminster,” said Dixon, who served multiple tours in Afghanistan.
“It’s not only for military veterans; it’s for RCMP veterans or serving members of the RCMP, first responders, firefighters, EMS all those types of people —doctors, nurses.
“Whoever needs it, this is what it’s for.”
Dixon says it is incredibly expensive to put on the Wounded Warriors event, which is being hosted by Lloydminster for the first time after several years in Nipawin SK.
He’s looking for sponsors to help make the weekend a success and keep it going next year.
“We need a Wounded Warriors Weekend somewhere, and if we don’t fundraise for it, it’s not going to happen,” said Dixon.
Funds for the event come from all over Saskatchewan and Alberta for the host community.
“It can get quite pricey to do this,” he added.
When Dixon and Ference learned Nipawin couldn’t afford to host it again, they took the bull by the horns to bring it to Lloydminster.
Our city raised more than $100,000 for the annual cause over the past four years.
A fundraiser in Lloydminster on April 30 raised more than $27,000.
The cost includes a list of private events including a day at a ranch, golfing, fishing and a second public event for the family at Lakeland College where the visitors are staying.
The Run to Remember/Heroes Hoedown day, starting at noon on July 30, will feature military displays, kids face painting, a beer tent, a live auction and an outdoor concert with The Good Brothers as the main act.
“We’re going to have a fun house and bounce houses for the kids,” said Ference.
“We’ll have entertainment and food.”

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