Two Quesnel residents are back from Ottawa after being honoured by the Governor General of Canada with meritorious service medals.
Paul and Terry Nichols were recognized for their equine-assisted therapy to help veterans as well as for their ride across Canada, a 211-day trip on horseback, to raise awareness about what veterans are faced with when coming home.
We spoke with Paul, who called it an incredible honour, and he was quick to point out that he didn’t do it alone…
“There was a lot of help along the way, some people that believed in us when we had a kind of a crazy idea and i really, really want to thank the ones that stuck through us all the way through and continue to work with us. So it’s my medal, but there are a lot of people that really earned it for us.”
Paul says he and his wife Terry had a lot of family and friends with them for the ceremony which made it even more special.
He says this ceremony was also different from the previous ones he’s been at…
“Terry and i both received our decoration for the civil division but it was for our work with the military, so they included our presentation with the military division of the meritorious service medals and there were a couple of other things going on at the same time, decorations for volunteers and a couple of awards for bravery, like military awards for bravery, so to be able to meet with these outstanding people and to network after the fact, after the presentation there was a reception, was a great experience.”
Paul says their work is far from done though.
In fact, he says their first veteran program for this year happens at the end of May and they have troops coming from all over Canada.
Paul is himself a veteran who struggled to come to terms with his experiences while serving as a peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia.