The sight of seeing a soldier missing his arms and legs was enough to make Durval Terceira want to lend a hand, and in this case, his legs as well.
“I saw this soldier at St. John’s Rehabilitation with no legs, no arm, and thought how nice it would be to do a little walk for them,” he said.
Terceira is fresh off of a 120-kilometre fundraising walk from Oshawa to the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial (ARM) in Trenton, Ont. to raise money for Canadian veterans who need assistance renovating their homes in order to make it more accessible.
After completing his walk on Oct. 21, the Carpenters’ Union representative said the initiative raised approximately $40,000, well past the initial goal of $30,000.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards the Renos for Heroes program, which provides home renovations to improve accessibility and convenience for veterans and their families.
“Some of them feel like they’re in a prison in their own home,” he said.
“We’re building modified homes for the troops that go up there and fight for our freedom.”
The well-being of soldiers and veterans is an issue that Terceira holds close to him, who”s brother fought in the Angola war in the early 1970s for Portugal. He calls him the inspiration for the idea.
“Here are the people that actually go to war and fight for our freedom and they’re thanking me for doing this 120 kilometres.” he said
“People say I sacrificed, I didn’t do a sacrifice, they sacrificed. This is just a long walk.”
The idea for the fundraiser grew a pair legs when Terceira approached Renos for Heroes six weeks before the walk to collaborate on the project which they happily agreed to.
Terceira kicked off his walk with some of his colleagues at an opening celebration event in Oshawa on Oct, 16.
He walked along Highway 2, covering 30 kilometres each day, and was greeted by Royal Canadian Legions along the way.
“I didn’t feel tired because of the cause,” Terceira said.
“I think when you do something for a great cause, it helps you deal with the pain and you don’t feel pain.”
Terceira added that it also helped that he ran with his colleagues and that he was in good physical shape.
But when he arrived in Trenton at around noon, there was some sadness that it all came to an end.
“I felt very emotional with the way I was received; with a bagpipe, a colonel, a priest, the mayor of Trenton, and when the bagpipes began to play, I felt emotional.”
The money raised during this year’s run will be used towards two projects that will create better home accessibility for the homes of two veteran families, which include the construction of ramps and kitchen modifications.
Terceira is already thinking about next year, with plans to grow the event to cities all over the GTA and to collaborate with the sports entertainment industry.
“I hope this gets huge,” he said.
“I want to get this going, I want to get the whole community involved.”