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Honour House a finalist for 2023 Defender Service Awards

The prize includes some cash and a much-needed Land Rover

Top right: Dave Hodgson tries to drive the not-for-profit’s pick-up truck. Bottom: the doors to Honour House in New West. Top left: the truck needing to be replaced. Honour House.

It’s a juxtaposition of a video: scenic views of New Westminster’s Honour House—along with the not-for-profit’s ranch in Ashcroft—and just moments later, spinning wheels on a pick-up truck the charity uses to do its work.

The driver’s face twists into shock as he remains stuck in the dirt—yet he notes this is typical behaviour of the truck. The group uses the vehicle to help them prepare for everything from fire season to the snow—and it’s used to transport supplies and people, too.

“[The truck] is wore out. If I get into a situation with it, even in four-wheel drive, I can’t spin all four tires,” explains Honour House’s Dave Hodgson. “There’s times when I’ve left my place to come to the ranch and tend to business in the middle of the night like power outages, water freezes up, and I’ve ended up having to call for help because my truck that I’m driving has let me down.”

Without the proper gear to be able to do any sort of firefighting, snow-related maintenance, or transportation of volunteers to help with these efforts, Hodgson reflects on what Honour Ranch’s time down the line could look like.

“It could be a matter of having Honour Ranch in the future, or not having it.”

This is where Honour House hopes the community will be able to help it out: the group is one of five finalists in a North American competition—among other first responder and veteran care-related not-for-profits. The prize? A Land Rover Defender 130, along with a cash prize to be able to help them do more work.

“This vehicle will do absolutely everything we need in our area, in the North Thompson regional district,” explains Al de Genova, Honour House’s president, who adds that everyone who helps out at Honour Ranch is usually a reservist.

For the uninitiated, Honour House is a not-for-profit with roots in New Westminster. It has a home in the city—known as a home away from home—that is used to house veterans, first responders, and/or their families in the event they are receiving medical care.

Honour House also runs Honour Ranch in Ashcroft—it’s another option for first responders and veterans who need a place to stay. Both spaces were recently offered to first responders who lost their homes fighting wildfires throughout the province.

Honour Ranch is set on about 120 acres of land overlooking the South Thompson River. It opened in 2019, with volunteers working around-the-clock before it opened to restore 10 cabins and a family-style lodge. The ranch is meant to serve as a space that can offer equine and music therapy, meditative practices and movements—imperative for those who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder or any other related medical conditions that can come about after serving one’s country.

Both the house in New West and the ranch in Ashcroft rely on donations to keep going. Programs are offered to veterans and first responders at no additional cost.

To take a look at the Honour House/Honour Ranch profile and cast your vote, you’ll want to visit this website. Voters can vote once per day per email address until Oct. 4.

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