Brisk morning weather didn't dissuade participants in a March for Peace, yesterday.

The 5k loop of the Bow River was one of two events staged Nov. 9 by the Wayfinders Wellness Centre to mark a week of remembrance, but to also raise funds for the continued development of their retreat.

Wayfinders vice-president Bryce Talsma lead the march, while inside president Paul Wagman sweat it out in an intense fitness boot camp with the others filling the artificial turf of the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre with safe social distancing protocols in place.

The boot camp was also streamed live for those who couldn't participate in person.

Talmsa says the march seemed a natural way to remember the contributions made by our nation's protectors. 

"For us, it's about the season of remembrance," says Talsma. "With everything going on with COVID, we try to figure out different ways to come together as a community. As a veteran, as a former soldier, one of the things we always do is march, so making common cause with the soldiers that have gone before us and the soldiers that are serving us today. It's putting on your boots and putting some miles on them."

Olympian Christina Smith returned to Cochrane for the march to continue to show her support for the work of Wayfinders.

"It's so inspirations to see what they're doing for first responders and the military," says Smith. "I call it the hidden pandemic, you know a lot of things after service that they deal with--injuries internal and emotional and PTSD--so anything to bring attention to this lovely organization is really something that's dear to me, and I really want to help spread the word."

Funds raised are being used to continue renovations. The exterior of the retreat has been completed, and now the nonprofit organization is going room by room implementing a plan to make the old ranch home fully functional.

"What we're really focusing on over the next month and a half, two months, is getting some more of the interior work done so we continue to host people," Wagman explained in advance of the event, "because that's what we're seeing from our response is people want to come to talk to us, so it's a priority to get it done."

The music and mindfulness room is at the top of that list.

The retreat is nestled in the peaceful setting of the WineGlass Ranch, just southwest of Cochrane, to provide a safe space for military and first responders suffering from PTSD and for their families to come to experience all areas of wellness through nature-based programs and open-minded community centred support.

While donations were accepted yesterday, there's still time to contribute.

Find out how here.