Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce executive director and former RCMP officer Mark Doratti is riding his Harley Davidson across Canada in August as he participates in The Rolling Barrage — a ride aimed at conquering the stigma of PTSD.
“I learned about the ride in 2017 and I was evacuated because of the fires so I jumped on my bike and joined them in Jasper and go to Victoria and find out what the ride was about,” Doratti told the Tribune, adding that is when he met Military Minds Inc.’s founder, retired Cpl. Scott Case.
“I was a little nervous and really hesitant at the start because the military is one animal, I was in the RCMP and that’s another animal, fire is another animal, ambulance and first responders, we all had our own world, but as much as we like to think we are our own world, after I spent three days on the road with them, it struck me that there was so much we had in common away from the job that was fallout from the job.”
Realizing it was a worthy cause, he joined The Rolling Barrage and was made national police liaison escort rep, which saw him phoning people from coast to coast.
He rode in 2018 in Saskatchewan and said seeing 500 to 600 people waiting for them to arrive in Humboldt, Sask. made him ‘almost cry.’
“This year I upped my game a little bit and wrote some letters to officers in the divisions and this year we have the RCMP escorting us from the Ontario and Manitoba border to Vancouver in a convoy.”
Registration so far indicates there will be close to a dozen riders who will dip their tires in the Atlantic to start the ride and finish the ride at the Pacific.
“Across the country we will see off and on another 1,000 motorcycles that will pick up with us and drop off here and there depending on their time and finances, kind of like I did in 2017.”
Arriving in Humboldt, Sask. will be significant as Doratti spent his policing his RCMP career of 30 years in Saskatchewan.
“My kids all lived there and my son road on those types of buses that were involved in the crash. The irony is, one of the captains of the Humboldt Fire Dept. is my son’s father-in-law.”
Doratti said MP Todd Doherty, whose private member’s bill to support people with PTSD, will be greeting the ride on at least two occasions — in Quebec and Ottawa.
— The Rolling Barrage (@rollingbarrage) July 30, 2019
Doratti departed Friday to fly to Halifax so he could get there in time to pick up his bike at a shop he shipped it to earlier. They depart on Monday, Aug. 6 and arrive in Burnaby on Aug. 21, but do not travel through Williams Lake.
Anyone wanting to follow the journey can check out The Rolling Barrage website or on Facebook. There is an online silent auction of ‘wonderful’ donated items.
“Military Minds doesn’t provide services. They basically facilitate getting people to the proper places where they can get help,” Doratti said.