Invictus Profile: Sgt Lorne Ford
When it comes to support, Team Canada – Invictus Games 2017 athlete Sergeant Lorne Ford is as good at receiving it as he is at giving it.
It’s a habit that began early in Lorne’s life. “My Big Brother is so important to me,” he says of his mentor from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association. “I consider him my father and he has helped to mold me into the man I am today! We met when I was nine years old and we still talk regularly.”
Lorne, who is currently a unit embarkation officer with the Canadian Army in Edmonton, Alberta, was injured in Afghanistan in April 2002 when an American military pilot mistakenly dropped a bomb on a section of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry’s A Company. Four Canadian soldiers were killed and a further eight were injured, including Lorne.
“My injuries were that I lost my right eye and had severe nerve damage to my left leg which causes me to limp as I have very limited plantar flexion. I lost a little bit of meat behind my left leg just above my knee. It’s all good. It can always be worse,” explains Lorne.
Lorne credits the Canadian Armed Forces for supporting him through his recovery and providing him with the opportunity to remain a career soldier. Where once he led soldiers into combat he now manages the acquisition and transportation of vehicles and cargo.
“The desire to soldier is still there, so it is tough—realizing that I can no longer do what I was once able to do. But there are other things that I can excel at,” he says.
Recently, Lorne reached out again for support—this time through a Canadian Armed Forces program called Soldier On. Soldier On supports serving military members and veterans to overcome physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport. Consequently, Lorne is one of 90 athletes of Team Canada competing in the Invictus Games in Toronto from September 23 to 30.
His Royal Highness Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games, an international competition for military members, when he saw a need for support for soldiers who had served and experienced life-changing illness or injury.
Currently training in the sports of indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby, Lorne sees the value in the Invictus Games for himself and other ill or injured military members.
“The Games will give Canadians the opportunity to see how much an injured soldier can accomplish. They will see how soldiers have overcome some horrific injuries. I can’t say enough about how much sport, through Soldier On and Invictus Games, has helped soldiers.”
Since its inception in 2007, Soldier On has dispersed more than $5 million helping more than 3200 ill and injured members to obtain sporting or recreational equipment and to gain access to training from experienced instructors. The program supports their participation in a wide range of structured activities from alpine skiing to fishing to adventure expeditions. The program also sent teams to the London (2014) and Orlando (2016) Invictus Games.
For more information, visit the Team Canada at the Invictus Games – Toronto 2017 website.
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