LOWER SACKVILLE, N.S. – After serving two tours to the Balkans, Sgt. Laura Bruce (ret’d), of Truro, never thought she’d be returning to a place that caused her so much emotional turmoil for the past 23 years.
The Battlefield Bike Rides (BBR) are bike rides where participants – mostly veterans – cycle more than 600 kilometres in seven days following the footsteps of soldiers of past conflicts in which the cyclists pay their respects at prominent war monuments and cemeteries.
Next marks the 25th anniversary of the battle of the Medak Pocket, which was the Canadian Army’s most intense combat since the Korean War. To commemorate this important part of history, Canadians will go back to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. The ride will take cyclists to places of significance to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families who served in the Balkan theatre, culminating at the site of the battle of the Medak Pocket.
Bruce served two tours in Croatia in 1994 and 1999 and the Gulf War and still bears the scars of these tours. The wounds of peacekeeping are not always caused by hostile fire, land mines or accidents. They do not always leave physical scars. She is extremely proud to have served her country in Croatia and feels privileged to have worked with others willing to make the sacrifice.
Bruce never thought she would ever return to the Balkans and this year’s ride will no doubt be the most emotional one for her. She will be facing her own fears and her own battle with PTSD, but knows with the support of the other riders, friends, colleagues and supporters, she will finish the ride a stronger person.
Bruce participated in two previous Battlefield Bike Rides in 2015 and 2016 and says it was a humbling experience to walk in the footsteps where thousands of Canadians fell to protect the freedom we now enjoy today.
To participate in the Battlefield Bike Ride, each participate must raise a minimum of $4,000 for Wounded Warriors Canada. Anyone interested in helping Bruce with her fundraising efforts, can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support her and donate to her ride, go to www.bit.ly/LauraBruceBBR2018.
Bruce has also teamed up with a local company from Lower Sackville, Peace by Piece Puzzles, where they are donating 10 per cent of their sales of the Into The Light puzzle in support of her fundraising efforts.
Visit their website at peacebypiecepuzzles. com.