Over the next few weeks, efforts will step up to make the final transformation of the Ranch House at the Wayfinders Wellness Retreat into a safe space for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Operational Stress Injuries (OSI).

Yesterday, Cochrane Home Treasures stepped forward with a major $23,000 contribution to ensure the safe space will be ready to host first responders, military personnel, and their families recovering from mental health injuries sustained while serving our country and our communities.

Wayfinders vice-president Chris Reader says preparing the 100-year old Ranch House has been the biggest hurdle to offering a full range of support. 

"We're knocking on the door," says Reader, who has been involved with Wayfinders for about two years.

"Once it's done and we are operational, then we can start doing what we've been trying to do for at least a year and a half where we can get guys out of the house, get them in and around like-minded individuals, and get them to start talking. 

He says once that gate is open, the help it provides quickly becomes apparent.

"That's what we're trying to achieve, and this donation is going to help out so much. We're extremely grateful."

Home Treasures chair Barb Primeau gets emotional when speaking of the struggles faced by individuals and their families because of PTSD.

"What happens to anybody with PTSD is they fall through the cracks when it comes to the government, and it takes us stepping in to pick up the slack of what the government won't do for them. They're a group of people who need help, and look at what we're doing."

Once the funding application was refined by Wayfinders, she says it was approved by the board without question.

Wayfinders officials say numerous organizations and businesses have stepped forward to turn the vision into a reality. They've received generous support from community partners like Spray Lake Sawmills, Canlin Energy, Paredes Energy, Command Electrical, Cochrane Toyota, Cochrane and District Horticultural Society, Evans Painting, Benjamin Moore, The Newley Clinic, Cochrane Floors and More, and many others.

They've also held several pilot projects in the past to explore ways to help those with PTSD.

Two Pharmacy has stepped up to provide a percentage of their sales in April in support of Wayfinders through its Family Roots Program.

The nonprofit organization says mental health and trauma are becoming the most frequent injury reported within public service.

The road to recovery is difficult, and Wayfinders was created to help.

At its heart is peer-helping-peer support combined with multiple proven wellness resources. it currently offers biweekly peer support group meetings both in-person and online that are open to all first responders, military, and veterans. Sign-up can be found on their Facebook page here.

Once the retreat is ready, they'll be offering peer-hosted workshops like community gardens, music and art, drumming circles, land-based First Nations healing and teachings, yoga, meditation, equine workshops as well as traditional and nontraditional therapy, and professional therapeutic services in network.

Wayfinders is currently seeking additional community partners and volunteer board members, preferably with experience and a little time, to replace injured founders and members.