Trip raises awareness of veteran suicide rate
LEAVE IT TO a Boilermaker to help a stranger when he’s down. That’s what Kevin Michaud, Local 73 (Halifax, Nova Scotia) did when he saw Sean Richardson, cyclist and veteran advocate, pushing his bike along the highway in Edmundston, New Brunswick in August 2016.
Richardson was five hours into his ride from Halifax to Vancouver to raise awareness of the veteran suicide rate when he struck debris in the road, causing muscle tearing in the tendons in his arm. He kept pushing through the pain, but after a few days Richardson’s right side was black and blue, and painfully swollen.
“I needed some downtime,” he said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to carry on, because I couldn’t even sit on the bike anymore.”
Enter Michaud, who stopped to pick up the injured cyclist, heard his story and offered his home to Richardson for a few days of recuperation. That’s not all. According to L-73 BM-ST David Noel, Michaud also encouraged his brothers at the local to become a partial sponsor of Richardson’s effort, which they did. Local 73 is a construction and shop lodge with jurisdiction for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
“He was riding for a very good cause,” said Noel, a sentiment that Michaud echoes.
“I really believe that our vets need help,” said Michaud. “And this is the Brotherhood that will give them that chance.” He noted boilermakers already support the Helmets to Hardhats program.
When Richardson felt well enough to ride, Michaud bought a bicycle so he could ride with his new friend on a portion of his journey.
“He absolutely stepped up. He raised awareness as well as bent over backwards to help me,” said Richardson. “He told me about the Brotherhood, and I was quite impressed. All of this support was a massive, massive part of my morale and in me finishing this trip.”
Chartered in 1973, Local 73 is a construction and shop lodge with jurisdiction for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.