Dozens of Calgarians took part in the third annual Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada, Coast to Coast Tour of Duty on Saturday.
Volunteers for the event take to the streets in search of veterans who are in crisis or homeless.
Steve Gilliss, field operations manager for the Calgary Chapter of VETS Canada, said it’s an important event that has helped about over 3,000 veterans since 2014.
“This May alone we helped 250 veterans. The awareness is growing and I think people are starting to understand that we’re there to work and help out in those situations,” Gilliss said.
Gilliss said the event serves two purposes; raising awareness about veteran homelessness and to find and help veterans in need.
VETS is a federally registered non-profit organization that supports veterans who are in crisis.
Richard Stroobant took part in the event in Calgary. He said it’s a small part of his day that could be life-changing for someone else.
“It’s really easy to walk by these people that are asleep on the sidewalk. Every one of them has a story, every one of them came from somewhere and we really don’t know exactly what that story is until we get an opportunity to talk to them,” Stroobant said. “I don’t think that’s where they want to be either but it’s where life has carried them for now and if we have an opportunity to give them a hand to where they want to be, not where they are, I think we as a society should look at doing that.”
Tour of Duty walks were held in 21 Canadian cities.