Article by Laura Broadley Reprinted from St Thomas Times-Journal
Published on: September 14, 2018 | Last Updated: September 14, 2018 6:07 PM EDT
Local veteran competing at Invictus Games
Canadian Army veteran and Union resident Jason Pollett will be competing in the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia from Oct. 20 to 27.">
The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry in 2014 for wounded, sick or injured military personnel or veterans to compete in sporting events such as sitting volleyball, rowing and cycling. In the application to compete at the Invictus Games, Pollett wrote about his experience during his military career including a 2007 tour in Afghanistan for seven and a half months and as a member of the Disaster Assistance Response Team in Haiti for 58 days after the 2010 earthquake.">
Pollett’s career with the CAF spanned just over 13 years starting when he had just turned 20-years-old. He is a retired Combat Engineer posted to Gagetown, N.B. He was released in 2014.
As a result of his military service Pollett was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “These games help me get out of my comfort zone and it’s really helped me to do that,” Pollett said. “My health is my main concern right now.” Pollett, 36, found out in February he would be representing Canada and competing in cycling, rowing and wheelchair basketball. From there he went to his first training camp in April in Victoria, B.C. The second athlete camp was in July in Halifax, N.S. for one week. CAF personnel and veterans apply for a position on the team, but Pollett said he’s not sure why he was chosen out of more than 600 applicants. Forty athletes were chosen to represent Canada including 18 members of CAF and 22 veterans.
Pollett believes the Invictus Games gives the athletes a purpose and goals outside of the military. “Right now, my main goal is just to get healthy and concentrate on the Invictus Games,” he said. As Pollett gets prepared for the games he cycles in the morning and goes rowing in the afternoons five or six days a week.
Pollett was born and raised in London but moved to Union with his two sons about two years ago to be closer to the water. The community and family support has been “outstanding” ever since Pollett found out he would be heading to Australia. A big support for Pollett has been the organization Soldier On, a CAF program that supports veterans a serving members living with physical or mental injuries. “They’ve actually really helped me get back on my feet by giving me the opportunity to participate in Invictus Games,” he said.
There are medal ceremonies at the Invictus Games, but that’s not something Pollett is concerned about. “It’s really not about getting first, second or third place for me. It’s just setting my goals and to keep going with them,” he said. Pollett’s girlfriend Shannon Weller said the games have given him a sense of purpose by motivating him to adapt a healthier lifestyle as well as inspiring him to continue on a positive path. “It’s definitely, I think giving him back a sense of belonging since leaving the military,” Weller said. Weller will be going to Australia as well to support him and said Pollett has come a long way and his hard work in showing, which she attributes in part to the games.
More than 500 athletes from 18 countries will compete in 11 different events during the 2018 Invictus Games.