A ride to raise funds for the Veterans Transition Network and Calgary Field of Crosses
Bike Calgary was working on a pilot group ride with a local veteran to commemorate and raise funds for veteran groups, on a small scale this year due to the pandemic. With the recent upward trend in Covid-19 we all need to be socially responsible, so the ride has changed and become a single rider event by a veteran, whom will ride a route containing Calgary’s military monuments and buildings on the 11th November, making a video blog at each point.
Tegh Singh (SGT. Jesse Jones) is originally from Southern California. He enlisted in the US Army at age 18 and served for over 6 years as a Fire Support Specialist. Serving in the 3rd Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, he fought alongside infantry units, calling in long range weapons systems such as artillery and attack aircrafts. His unit saw very heavy combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, earning them several Presidential Unit Citations and the Valorous Unit Award for heroism against an armed enemy – the two highest awards which can be issued to a unit by the Army.
In 2010, toward the end of his enlistment he married his best friend, Rusveer Kaur. Shortly after, they moved to California and Sgt. Jones joined the California National Guard to prepare reservists for deployments and train for combat.
After separating from the Army, Sgt. Jones and his wife moved to Toronto to start a civilian life. He became a father to an incredible little girl (now 5 years old) and took the name Tegh Singh after becoming an initiated Sikh.
Having faced many challenges from his time in service, including struggling with PTSD, Tegh’s healing has leaned heavily on spirituality, staying physically active, and speaking openly about his experiences in the military. Now living in Calgary, Tegh uses running, martial arts, and cycling as part of his process, along with the help of organizations like the Veterans Transition Network (VTN), which provide group counselling programs to help veterans transition to civilian life.
“Without the Field of Crosses, many Calgarians would not have the opportunity to honour the fallen and preserve the memories of those who died. Without VTN, many service members – like myself – who returned with Operational Stress Injuries would not have the practical tools to overcome the challenges borne from this unique trauma. These organizations need financial support to continue to serve their incredibly important purpose.
Cycling helps me unwind; it helps me breathe. So, I’m riding for my brothers and sisters who didn’t come home with me, and those who did but are forever changed by war. I’m riding for my wife, my daughter, and the families of every soldier out there. They’re the real heroes.”
These great organizations need your help. Please click below or follow the instructions if you are able to make a donation, no matter how small. You can also donate though their websites (Please mention Ride to Remembrance if doing so).
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All donations will be shared equally between the Field of Crosses and the Veterans Transition Network
Tegh’s route is planned to capture the following locations, using Calgary’s mobility pathway system:
Military Museum (start)
CFB Currie (2kms point)
Battalion Park (7kms point)
Mewata Armoury (16kms point)
Calgary Soldiers Memorial (17kms)
Poppy Plaza (17.5kms)
Native tree’s plantation memorial (18.8kms)
Field of Crosses (20kms)
Elite Brewing & Cidery (22kms)
Fort Calgary (25 kms)
The Hanger Museum (34kms) (end)
ABOUT THE VETERANS TRANSITION NETWORK
The Veterans Transition Network is a national charity helping Canadian veterans across the country through their transition process, reconnecting them with families, communities, and careers.
One third of Canadian Veterans report difficulties in transition.
Veterans who have difficulties with the transition to civilian life are the most vulnerable: feeling isolated from the world saps the strength they need to combat depression, post-traumatic stress, or substance abuse.
This period after they leave service has been shown as the critical point keeping our Vets from winding up on the streets.
ABOUT THE FIELD OF CROSSES
Each November 3500 crosses are erected in a park along Memorial Drive, in Calgary, to pay tribute individually to the thousands of Southern Albertans who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom. In addition a separate part of the park is set aside, with 120 unique crosses, for a special memorial to the 120,000 heroes from across Canada who lost their lives fighting for this great country. All day and night people walk through the 5 acre memorial, which is lit 24/7, reading the crosses and being reminded that our freedom was not free.
Each morning from November 1 up to and including November 11, at sunrise, a moving flag raising ceremony is held and school choirs, military pageantry, buglers, pipers, silver star families and honoured guests pay tribute to our fallen. Each evening at sunset a similar service is held and flags are lowered. Each morning, following the sunrise service, school students, veterans and special guests are hosted to breakfast at a nearby Legion where veterans and police officers sit with students and engage in meaningful conversations. On November 11 a touching Remembrance Day service is held and attended by over 5,000 and televised and streamed to 300,000 more.
The Canadian Army Veterans Ypres 3 CAV, along with hundreds of dedicated volunteers assist in this extensive undertaking, cleaning the crosses, installing the bases, erecting and taking down and storing the crosses.
Also a big thank you to:
Two Wheel View helped with a suitable bike and UPWEGO support the Field of Crosses through the Exercise Freedom Together campaign