Saanich veteran Stephane Marcotte says Wounded Warriors Canada programs saved his life

Stephane Marcotte has served in the Canadian Navy for 28 years, 18 of those years in submarines deep under the sea. He spent the remaining 10 years at sea sailing and teaching.

In 2017, he was finally able to retire from his military service, only with various assignments and PTSD from the 2002 Gulf War with him.

For Marcotte, Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor the lives of lost service members and express gratitude to those who did not serve, including his own.

He said he owes his life to the programs and resources provided by the Wounded Warriors of Canada.

As a volunteer and beneficiary of the organization, he was able to speak to the power of their projects.

“I retired in 2017 and I’ve been doing some volunteer work since then, and more and more with injured Warriors,” Marcotte said. “I talk about how I was a living proof of what the program did. It helped me, my mental health, and it helped me get a service dog so I could go out and enjoy quality of life. What Wounded Warrior did for me – they gave me a high quality of life and a living.”

He started working with the injured Warriors because he said other things, like psychology, just didn’t work.

The Ma and his wife plan to help him and his wife, Susan, learn how to communicate with each other to really get to know each other.

“We need something to help us understand each other,” Marcotte said. “The second course we took was a five-day course. It was in person at Bear Mountain for five days. It was a couples coping program — couples were working through PTSD every day. During that time, she Really understands what I’m going through, and she understands me better, and that’s probably one of the reasons we’re still together.”

A combination of couple-specific joint and separate programs helps develop their communication skills so they can truly get to know each other even in the midst of the challenges of PTSD.

For the past nine years, Marcottes has partnered with the organization to help host the annual Wounded Warrior Run BC, which raises money across Vancouver Island for the same projects that saved Stephane’s life and Marcottes’ marriage.

“We ran 600 to 700 kilometers in eight days to raise money and awareness for veterans and first responders and their families,” he said.

Not only did the injured Warriors give Marcotte purpose and motivation — at one of their events in Bear Mountain, the organization also helped him get his service dog, Sarge.

“At that event, they had a Vancouver Island Compassion Dog Association — they were service dog providers, and they were there, and I saw a dog. His name was Hunter, and I bent over and he just licked it Licking my face and I started crying. I was relieved. So I said ‘I need a dog’. I’ve never had a dog in my life. I submitted my application that day and three months later I started this The project – it changed my life, me and my family – my marriage. It saved my personal life, and I’m still here because of my dog.”

From helping him overcome anxiety to reminding him when his blood sugar is low, Sarge has had a profound impact on Marcotte’s life.

“He could kick me out of the house,” he said. “I can enjoy life outside my house without always having to be behind me to see if someone is coming to hurt me. When I have nightmares from different events in life and in service, he wakes me up and makes me stop, which It’s a great tool.”

The benefits of the Wounded Warriors programs and events Marcotte participated in far outweighed happiness and safety. They made sure he was able to show up on another Memorial Day to celebrate his continued battle in the face of PTSD and remember those he lost at home and abroad.

“One day we can remember the sacrifices all the service members made for us to give us freedom and liberty. Not always overseas, we have lost some people in Canada too, so they should be remembered too. A lot of people , they left too early, so we have to remember that they left for us and our children.”

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