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There is a peaceful place where Master Cpl. Scott MacDougall would find his serenity and escape his pain – a cottage along the south shore of P.E.I.
It’s where the soldier spent much of his time before his death in April 2018 from his battle with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
In hopes of helping others, MacDougall’s parents, John and Diana, are now transforming that cottage into a retreat for military personnel who are struggling with PTSD and their families.
“To give a family some relief and a place to come where they can relax and enjoy themselves, maybe see the better side of life, I think is a tremendous initiative,” said Alan Crane, past president of the Kingston Legion and friend of the MacDougall family.
The renovations to turn the cottage into a comfortable wheelchair accessible facility suitable for wounded soldiers will cost about $60,000.
Roughly $30,000 will come from MacDougall’s family.
A fundraiser to help with the costs of materials for the cottage, which is named Celtic Cove Retreat, will be held Saturday at the Kingston Legion in New Haven at 7 p.m. with music by Tip-Er-Back and a silent auction.
IF YOU GO
- WHERE: Kingston Legion, 15383 Trans-Canada Highway, Clyde River
- WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 23
- WHY: To raise money for renovations to Celtic Cove Retreat
- HOW MUCH: Admission by donation
Crane said many businesses and people in the area have donated to the silent auction.
“The response by individuals we’ve approached has been very positive,” he said.
Celtic Cove Retreat will offer up to eight struggling military families a year a chance to visit P.E.I. in order to experience the peace that MacDougall once felt while at his cottage.
The cottage was a place MacDougall called his “piece of paradise”.
He had made plans to renovate the cottage and move there following his scheduled medical release from the military, which was to be in September 2018.
Tragically, that never happened.
MacDougall’s PTSD came from an incident during a tour of Afghanistan.
In 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Regiment to serve as a gunner of a light armoured vehicle (LAV).
Twelve days into the mission, the LAV struck an improvised explosive device injuring those on board.
MacDougall’s wounds were severe enough that he was given the option of going home.
“I’m staying for my brothers,” he told his mother.
He stayed for the remaining seven and a half months of his tour.
“He was a master corporal, but he was a leader,” said Crane. “I think talking to friends and people he served with, he was the kind of person that you enjoyed being around or that you trusted to be around.”
Renovations for Celtic Cove Retreat started last fall with the goal of having it ready this summer.
“The intent is to finish this project when the weather gets better in the spring,” said Crane.