Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm not me anymore - by Trudi Kwakernaak

I received this in our inbox today and wanted to share

"I wrote this for my son who suffers from PTSD. Many of our soldiers are suffering and they need our support and understanding. It's an illness that hits every individual differently and it's difficult to comprehend it's effects, difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat and very difficult to overcome. My thoughts and prayers are with all those afflicted."
- Trudi Kwakernaak

I’m Not Me Anymore 

I went over there anxious and willing to fight 
I came home beaten and far from alright 
They say I’m different, definitely not the same 
Some days I don’t even know my own name. 

I wore my uniform with overflowing pride 
Carried my rifle easily by my side 
Displayed the Maple Leaf for all to see 
I was exactly where I wanted to be 

I did my job each and every day 
Didn't stay back, hide or shy away 
The enemy had weapons we had never seen 
They were heartless, relentless and downright mean 

I was doing okay with days to go 
When my time was up, I could go happily home 
Of course I couldn't predict what was to come 
Now I’m someone my friends shy away from 

One minute we were enjoying esprit de corps 
Then the scenery changed and we became victims of war 
Laughter receded and misery prevailed 
Only those involved will know what that day entailed 

I lost my buddies, watched them die 
I was forced by the enemy to say goodbye 
I had a close call but they paid the price 
My life is forever changed because of an explosive device 

You say I’m lucky because I lived 
I came home in one piece with nothing physically wrong 
You can’t see my injuries, can’t feel my pain 
I came home alive but I’ll never be the same 
I’m depressed and anxious, my head is quickly spinning 
I’m slowing dying inside, the demons are winning 

I was a soldier; dedicated, proud & gung ho 
Living each day in a fog is now the status quo 
You say I’ve changed and you don’t like what you see 
You tell me to get over it and start living again 
I’m trying but inside I feel numb, totally off track 
Depressingly unsure if the old me will ever come back 

Forgive me for being a different person 
But you can’t even imagine what I've been through 
Don’t judge me or hate me or tell me my future’s bright 
Life isn't the same, and I’m not alright. 

Trudi Kwakernaak

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Military Minds & TAS - Break The Silence

As you may or may not be aware, PTSD is a very crippling illness which has proven to be tragic with one veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes. It’s time to BREAK THE SILENCE.......

Two groups have come together in a NEW mission to spread the word about PTSD awareness and we need your help to do this. Military Minds & Thank A Soldier have a combined network of over 100,000 members and with that number of people we should be able to make some noise :

Military Minds was started by a currently serving Canadian Infantry soldier Cpl Chris Dupee to raise PTSD awareness and help educate people about PTSD and its effects on soldiers and their families. Military Minds has no borders and offers a voice & support to members of the military past and present seeking support.

Thank A Soldier was started by civilian Dave Murphy five years ago which originally started as a campaign to send Canadian Forces members serving in Afghanistan coffee certificates but has now grown to a Networking site within Facebook for all coalition forces from all branches.

Please help us 'Break the Silence' for our troops before another is lost to the illness. Here you will find the links to the Military Minds PTSD awareness sites. 

It seems most media outlets don't want to cover anything to do with PTSD until "After the case" well it's time for that to change.

Military Minds :
Facebook :
Twitter :
YouTube :
Email :

Thank A Soldier :
Facebook :
Twitter :
Youtube :
Email :

Thank You 

--------------------- Do Not copy and paste below -----------------

Between TAS & MM our three main media outlets are as follows : Canada – CTV National News, USA – Anderson Cooper 360 – CNN & UK – Daily Mail all we are asking you do is to pick your region below and click the link to open a new window to copy and paste everything above this paragraph and send to them.

You can also copy and paste the above write up and send to your local news outlets via Radio, TV & print.

Canada – Click here to email CTV National  (Link will be here to take to CTV email)

USA – Link to email Anderson Cooper - CNN  (Note enter your information and copy and past everything after our contact information)

UK – Daily Mail - Click here to send an email to the Daily Mail UK

IF you use TWITTER click one of the below links to automatically send a tweet to these news agencies


Post A Message to your Twitter Followers

NOTE : If you receive a email in response to sending this to any email outlets, please have them respond to 
Chris from Military minds at 
or Dave from Thank A Soldier at 

Friday, September 7, 2012

From the wife of a fallen soldier

I just wanted to take a minute and say thank-you for your continued work with Thank a Soldier. I know that positive comments cannot always make up for the negative ones you may receive but I thought I'd put my two cents in. I am well into my second decade of service in the Canadian Army, I have served on many missions both aide to civil power and NATO and I have buried family and friends who have died in the line of duty.

For the most part I have witnessed a slow change through the years and have been honoured recently to have several civilians approach me to say thank-you. While I always find this slightly embarrassing I accept their words with as much grace as I can muster because I have also been subject to more negative encounters several of which are similar to the email you received. Thankfully I have seen less of that type recently and more yellow and red ribbons out in my community.

 I love to see signs of support be it a website, yellow ribbon magnets on vehicles and in businesses and it actually brings a smile to my face to see people wearing red on Fridays or otherwise taking a moment out of their lives to be supportive of our military and coalition partners. To be honest, most soldiers don't feel as if they have done anything special that deserves to be acknowledged but some of the men and women I have served with over the years truly are amazing individuals and knowing that there are people and organizations out there like you who care enough to take time out of their lives to honour them gives me hope for Canada and humanity. 

My husband and fellow soldier Cpl Bryce Keller MMV was killed in action six years ago and each and every time I read the positive comments on TAS or have someone thank me when I'm out in my uniform I feel like thanking them back because one of the worst fears for me as family of a fallen soldier is that Bryce will be forgotten by the people he served. He was truly a hero and every thank-you I receive I accept on his behalf. I will never get sick of talking to people about Bryce or accepting their words of appreciation for his service and his life.

 He deserves that, as do all the soldiers, sailors and airmen/women that serve our Country. It's not 'holier than thou' it is kindness and appreciation extended freely by fellow Canadians and I will always be grateful and thankful for that. Thank-you to Thank a Soldier and to each and every person that has supported your endeavor and websites.

 Keep up the good work! Sincerely, Sarah Keller, CD.

Note : This article was Sarah Keller's response to this posting on our Facebook page 

Cpl. Bryce Keller was 27 years old when he was killed in a firefight with insurgents in the Pashmul District of Kandahar, Afghanistan, August 3, 2006.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

From a family member of a fallen soldier

I was browsing the “Thank A Soldier” page today and saw a very nasty email from someone clearly nothing better to do saying how useless the page was and people wasting their time. I wanted to share my story about how this page has helped me.
I was browsing the “Thank A Soldier” page today and saw a very nasty email from someone clearly nothing better to do saying how useless the page was and people wasting their time. I wanted to share my story about how this page has helped me.

About four years ago my first cousin was killed in Afghanistan I will never forget the day I got a call from my mother to tell me the news. I was visiting Toronto at the time for school and felt all alone as I had no family or friends to comfort me or talk to.

I was browsing around facebook for “Military Support Groups” and came across a page started by Dave Murphy the founder of “Thank A Soldier” called “Tim Hortons For Our Troops” at that time it was a page started in April for sending coffee to Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. (Note : our page didn’t become for all coalition forces until about a year in)

I met up with my family in Trenton, Ontario where his body would be taken to the coroner’s office in Toronto down a stretch of highway now known as “The Highway Of Heroes” every overpass we went under from Trenton to Toronto (A 35 minute drive and easily over 50 bridges) was filled with people with flags and waving at our procession. This blew me away and a few days later when I went back on the support Facebook page people were posting photos and telling their stories.

Skip ahead about two years and my family didn’t want to talk about it anymore, I felt like I had no one to talk with so I sent Dave M. A message asking if he could post on his page a request for anyone who would be willing to talk to a family member of a fallen soldier. The next day I had over 150 emails in my inbox and one of them was from the sister of a soldier who was killed the same day my cousin was.

All this from ONE person sharing Dave’s request on the TAS page.

We began talking on Facebook and then on the phone pretty much every night for about a year, she lived in Montreal and I was now residing in Ottawa, Ontario. We decided to meet in person and the weekend we shared together was one of the most comforting and memorable I have ever had.

She’s getting married next spring and guess who was asked to be in her wedding party......... yes that’s right me

If it were not for “Thank A Soldier” I never would have never met my new best friend, been able to grieve my loss and gain so much comfort.


Sandra Gardiner - Ottawa, Ontario

If you would like to share "Your Story" please email

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

TeamTAS Jersey Design Contest

A few months ago we started the “Team TAS” (Team Thank A Soldier) theme to go along with our page and people post on their Facebooks that they are member of #TeamTAS and it has really taken off. I have received several emails from people asking that we make “Team” jerseys that they can wear to show that they are proud members.

That being said we are launching a contest to our members to design a football, basketball, baseball & hockey jersey for TEAM TAS.

Submissions :
The football, baseball & basketball jerseys will just have TEAM TAS on the front but people can submit their suggestions on the Facebook Photo with colour options. You can customize them with your number and own name on the back when they go live.

The Hockey jersey needs to have a logo on it so we’re going to open that up to our graphic guru’s out there to design. It has to be military related, not one country specific and be generic for all branches and include Team TAS on it somewhere.

If you have an idea you’d like to submit but not graphically inclined you can also email please put “Jersey Idea Submission” in the subject line.

We will have our members vote for their favourites once we receive a number and the winning one will be featured on our site and receive one of the jerseys.

I will set the deadline for submission temporarily at September 30th, 2012

These will be sold at cost so there will be no proceeds to disperse from the sale of them just people wishing to show their support by wearing a TEAM TAS jersey.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Order Of St. George - Oct 13th, 2012

January 25th, 2012

Today I am honoured and truly humbled to announce that I have been chosen to become a member of "The Order Of St. George". I just spoke with the Grand Master The Chevalier Gareth J. Green, CD, KGCStG Grand Master of Canada and The Americas and he informed me of the official news.

On Saturday October 13th, 2012 at the St. Pauls Anglican Church at 12:30pm I will be entered into The Order Of St. George. 
Seating at 12:30pm Service at 1:00pm
St. Paul's Cathedral Bloor Street
227 Bloor St. E, Toronto, ON M4W 1C8

Click here to R.S.V.P on Facebook 

When I started Tim Hortons for our Troops five years ago I was called to the Military Family Resource Center to meet Major John Haylock (Canadian Forces) who would be delivering the over $10,000 in Timmies certificates they had received through members of my Facebook page to send to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

I had stayed in contact with him for years and sent care packages for him to give out to soldiers while he was on deployment and have kept in contact throughout the years.

He recently submitted my name for nomination for the Order and today it became official, I've had to keep this a secret for about the last month which is really hard for anyone who knows me but I can hardly explain in words on a blog how much this means to me.

Some well respected people are members of this order such as former General Rick Hillier, Lewis Mackenzie & Andrew Leslie and I am honoured to join them.  The Order of St. George does a lot of work for military charities and I hope I can help them with all of their efforts in the future.

I want to say THANK YOU to Major John Haylock for thinking of me for this amazing honour and I will certainly do my best to make them proud.  Some amazing things are coming up with our page and website such as "The Wall Of Gratitude" and another secret project I have in the works so I have no plans in slowing things down a notch.

Thank You all for being a part of my efforts whether its following on Twitter, Sharing on Facebook, sending photos for Gratitude Project and everything else, none of my efforts would be anything without my amazing group members who take part in all of them and show our men and women serving from all countries we support them.

Thank You 
Dave Murphy - Calgary Alberta

If you are within driving distance of Toronto 

April 2007 - Meeting Major John Haylock who delivered Tim Hortons Certificates to soldiers for our Facebook page 


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Equitas Society - Hardy Staub interview

Please take a moment to watch this interview with an Airfoce Veteran

The Equitas Society - Facebook Page

EQUITAS is a national, non-partisan organization formed to support injured Canadian soldiers suffering life-long disabilities.


EQUITAS discovered that disability support program imposed on Canadian soldiers as of 2006 - called the “New Veterans Charter” - does not provide the same level of compensation and benefits awarded under workers’ compensation programs across this country. It has unacceptable deficiencies when compared with the pension and disability support program in effect until five years ago.

Because the New

Veterans Charter short-changes many of those injured in service to Canada:

- we are raising public awareness, because the compensation & benefits situation currently applied to hundreds of disabled soldiers is unfair and unjust;

- we are raising the funds essential for expensive lawsuit disbursement costs; and also,

- we are working to provide additional funds for programs to help disabled soldiers transition back into society at their fullest potential.

General Information

EQUITAS persuaded the national law firm Miller Thomson to represent ‘pro bono’ in the Courts a group of disabled soldiers who are demanding a disability benefit program for them equivalent to what other Canadian workers enjoy.

- To date the Government has not properly addressed this inadequate and inequitable compensation program for disabled soldiers.

- Without a political solution, seeking

legal redress is the only path available for affected, disabled soldiers to obtain fairer treatment by changing the nature and extent of disability settlements awarded under the New Veterans Charter.

- EQUITAS therefore supports disabled soldiers challenging the New Veterans Charter, citing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If you are a disabled soldier who was provided a settlement under the New Veterans Charter, and you are interested in finding out how you can get involved (at no cost to you) in the legal action EQUITAS is supporting, let us know. Miller Thomson lawyers want to meet you. Be assured - your information will be kept client confidential.

If you are a Canadian citizen who shares our desire to fix this problem, and want to become a Friend of EQUITAS, we would welcome hearing from you. We need help from Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast in raising awareness and necessary funding to back up Canada’s deserving, disabled soldiers.