Dozens of Calgarians gathered in the city's southwest Saturday morning to show their support for veterans, military members and their families.
The Canadian Walk for Veterans, a countrywide event which seeks to raise awareness about the challenges facing military personnel, got underway at 9:30 a.m., as participants made their way along a five kilometre loop on the city's South Glenmore Park pathway.
Andrea Chant, the deputy prior for Alberta for the order of St. George, assisted in the organization of the event.
She said it's important for veterans and military members to come together and learn what sorts of resources are available to them through events like the walk.
"Right now, because of the economy it's really hard for everybody, specifically the veterans," said Chant.
"They don't have access to a lot of resources, so it's important that we hold events like these because this allows them to get whatever they need."
Chant added that the theme for the sixth iteration of the annual event was military families with all proceeds going to support Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) around the country.
"When a member serves in the military, the entire family serves as well," a spokesperson for the Canadian Walk for Veterans said in a statement.
"Military Family Resource Centres are essentially the heart of their military communities and their goal is to build strong, resilient individuals, families and communities.
Dedicated staff are frontline service providers, responsible for connecting military families to a wide range of programs and services."
Ken Ruller said it was a "beautiful morning" for a walk in support of military members and veterans. (Brendan Coulter/CBC)
Ken Ruller, a Calgary veteran who served in the military for nearly 44 years, took part in Saturday's event.
"There needs to be a greater awareness [of MFRCs] to veterans and to the military family as a whole," said Ruller.
He said he recently took a suicide prevention course through a Calgary-based MFRC, motivated by the high rate of suicide among veterans.
"Let's see if we can prevent [more suicides]. Let's see if we can give [veterans] support mechanisms," Ruller said.
Jeff Warne, a retired veteran of 28 years of service who was also at the walk, said he wasn't aware of MFRCs until today.
Warne has attended every walk the city has ever put on. He said it's important for him to go to not only to show his support, but to connect with other serving military members and veterans.
"When you're talking to veterans about [the past], then you're on the same page," said Warne.
"Sometimes [we] don't wanna talk about certain things with certain people, but when you get together with veteran brothers and sisters it's just like a family, you can talk about everything. Since Afghanistan there's been a lot of soldiers coming back with a lot of issues."
Sister walks were held this morning in Wetaskiwin, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Halifax, Kingston, Philipsburg, Courtenay, Kamloops, White Rock, Surrey and Fraser Valley BC.