Georgian students, alumni hike 160 kilometres to honour Canadian heroes
July 21, 2015

This July, a group of policing students and alumni from Georgian College’s Orillia Campus are taking part in Road to Recovery – Leave the Streets Behind, a four-day 160-kilometre ruck from Barrie to Parry Sound.

The event will raise money to support the Royal Canadian Legion’s Operation: Leave the Streets Behind program, which assists homeless and near-homeless veterans struggling to get back on their feet by providing financial support and help connecting with social and community services.

“Rucking” is walking a distance with a weighted pack on one’s back – in this case, the team will carry weighted plates engraved with the number of fallen Canadian heroes who have died in the past year, either in the field or by suicide.

A collage of three photos of Georgian College students hiking alongside a highway and through a fieldIt’s a pretty simple concept that carries a lot of meaning, says Keith Dow, one of the students participating in the ruck.

“We all enjoy a uniquely Canadian lifestyle, which is defended by those on the front lines,” says Dow. “Unfortunately, some of our Canadian heroes perish in the pursuit of our freedom, while veterans who do return home still carry the mental and emotional weight with them long after active duty.”

Due to the overwhelming support the team received at its inaugural ruck last year, the group was able to establish a non-profit organization that supports Canadian servicemen year-round. Ruck to Remember serves as a tribute and support to those who have served in the military and as frontline responders, including paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement.

“The ruck is really a testament to how civic-minded our Community Safety students are as a whole at the Orillia Campus,” says Campus Principal and Dean Mary O’Farrell-Bowers. “This is just one of many events policing students are directly involved with throughout the year and I could not be more proud to help support them in their cause. I hope others will, too.”

Money raised through this year’s ruck will go to Operation: Leave the Streets Behind donations are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

Proceeds from an event planned for the fall will go to a scholarship created by the team and faculty member Karen Bell, with help from the Royal Canadian Legion. The Ruck to Remember Award will be presented annually to a student enrolled in any program at the Orillia Campus who has experienced a significant life event while responding as a frontline responder or military personnel, but has since become an active member of the community.

The team departs from Memorial Square in Barrie on Thursday, July 23. The ruck wraps up Saturday, July 26 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Parry Sound. Each team member hopes to raise between $500 and $1,500.

To donate or become a sponsor, or follow the team, visit their website at or one of the following social media platforms: