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Local artist donates work to aid organization to help veterans
Local artist MaryAnn Bidder has produced a 20” by 30” water colour painting of an injured soldier sit-skiing to honour the Soldier On organization that was founded in 2006 to help injured military veterans adjust to their disabling conditions through active participation in physical, recreational or sporting activities.
MaryAnn has a special connection to the organization through her son, Bob Bidder, a military veteran who has himself been helped by Soldier On. Bob’s 24-year military career as a Canadian Forces medic ended when he developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after serving numerous tours overseas including ours in the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. He credits Soldier On with helping him to recover from the PTSD and to adjust to a more normal life. In 2013 Soldier On gave him a bicycle, and then shortly after sent him to Europe for a bike ride event from France to London, England.
He has continued to cycle and is currently part of an international team of injured veterans from Canada, the U.S. and Denmark participating in an 800-mile, two week ride from Ottawa to Washington D.C. The Team rode through Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to arrive at the Capitol Building in Washington on the morning of July 4, Independence Day, and to join the National Independence Day Parade.
MaryAnn said that she noticed a big improvement in Bob’s condition after he joined the program, which is why she wants to bring as much attention to Soldier On as she can; and to raise as much money for it as possible through her art work.
MaryAnn has donated the painting to be auctioned off by Soldier On to raise funds for their programs. A framed reproduction of the painting can be seen at the Chateau Kimberley Hotel and Art Gallery and reproduction note cards are available for purchase at the hotel with proceeds from the sale being donated to the organization as well.
As administration of the Soldier On program is provided by the Canadian government, all money raised through donations goes directly to programs for the injured military personnel. So the more money that is raised, the greater the number of veterans who can be helped.