Meet Corporal Damien

David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet
David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet

“I learned that it’s ok not to be ok. You are not alone and my (your) presence matters.”

From: Newfoundland
Canadian Armed Forces

In the early ’80s, Corporal Damien embarked on a five-year service with the Canadian Armed Forces. His military journey was marked by a series of re-musters, from Com research to the Navy to Infantry. As a result, he never felt fully accepted by his peers. He reached a breaking point when he engaged in a fight with another soldier, nearly losing his right eye. But through his challenges, he persevered, driven by a sense of duty and commitment to his five-year contract.

Leaving the service in 1986, Damien experienced an unexpected sense of emptiness. The transition to civilian life left him feeling “alone, abandoned, unwanted, and a failure.” For decades, he grappled with dark thoughts.

“I knew for years that something was wrong with my thinking, my mood swings, my inability to trust anyone, and the fact that I can’t stand to be touched. But I was handling it like a man, like a soldier.” 

In 2023, at the age of 60, Damien’s life took a turn. A job loss triggered an intense reaction of rage. The following day, fate intervened. Discovering that his hot water tank had sprung a leak, he went out to search for plumbing parts. He drove past the Veterans Farmer office, and out of desperation, turned the car around and went inside to talk to someone. They introduced him to the VTN. Speaking on a call to the VTN Atlantic Coordinator marked the first time Damien shared the “chaos” in his head.

shattered glass black and white

Reluctant at first about the program, Damien eventually embraced the opportunity to share his struggles with the group. Hearing what others were going through shifted his perspective on his own challenges, and the program became a lifeline.

“I’m still here! And for the first time in about 40 years, I want to be. This program has extended my life. If I hadn’t taken the VTN program, I know I wouldn’t be here.

My wife and son have seen a great change in me. They actually see me smile now, which apparently, I didn’t do much of before VTN.”

As he reflects on his journey, Damien emphasizes the profound impact of the program. With newfound purpose and a brighter outlook, Damien stands testament to the transformative potential of support and understanding.

You can change lives for people like Damien