Local veteran launches fundraiser to support other veterans in need

CKTB - NEWS - Jimmy Stahl Big Bang Live Jazz for Veterans

A local veteran is spearheading an effort to raise funds for other veterans in need.

Retired Sergeant Garrick Halinen was stationed in Germany when the Berlin wall came down and served for 18 years in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.

Halinen was diagnosed with PTSD and was able to get support through VETS Canada, a volunteer-based organization run by veterans.

He is now paying it forward by working with a team to put together 'Live Jazz For Veterans with the Jimmy Stahl Big Band' on Sunday, November 8th at 3 p.m. at the Greg Frewin Theatre.

He says, "My fellow soldiers who encounter difficulty after service due to traumatic stressors are developing PTSD at an alarming rate. Some so severe they cannot cope or take care of themselves. In most extreme cases this leads to homelessness."

Halinen says there are at least 23 known veterans without housing in the St. Catharines area.

Money raised during the event will be used to support VETS Canada efforts to help homeless veterans and other veterans facing difficulties of any kind. 

"That could mean the inability to afford groceries or a power bill to dealing with an emotional or mental crisis," Southern Ontario Manager for VETS Canada Jim Tolmie explains.

The event features live music from the award-winning Jimmy Stahl Big Band, local artist Geneviève-Renée Bisson, and Michael Vanhevel.

A limited number of tickets will be sold to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

Tickets range between $40 - $60 and are available through the Greg Frewin Theatre website or by calling the box office at 905-356-0777.