For the 2016 Team Canada Captain Bruno Guévremont, the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 were a life-changing experience.
Bruno is a retired Leading Seaman, having served almost 15 years with the Royal Canadian Navy. After two tours in Afghanistan and one in Southeast Asia, the difficult realities of military service took its toll. Guévremont was part of an anti-explosives team in Afghanistan; a busy outfit that dealt with more than 100 IEDs (improvised explosive devices). They had many close calls, and coming home was difficult. After returning from his second tour in Afghanistan, Guévremont was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In 2015, Bruno was named Team Canada Captain for the 2016 Invictus Games. Initially seeing this as a great opportunity to again feel connected to a team and to focus on his fitness, Bruno never realized at the time just how much he would gain from these Games.
“I learned a lot from my role as Team Captain: managing time, taking on responsibility, being a leader,” he said. As Captain, Bruno made it his mission to be available for his teammates. “My job was to ensure that each and every one of them made it to the start line.” The rest wasn’t as important for him, knowing that for some of his teammates, simply standing at the front line was an incredible feat.
Bruno went on to rave about the comradery he witnessed in Orlando, not only from his fellow Team Canada members but from all the competitors. “I was surprised by how everybody supported each other. Everybody was looking out for each other. They recognized the signs of stress or struggle and always offered their support.”
When asked about his favourite memory of the 2016 Games, Bruno explained that it was the time he got to spend with his family – particularly his young son – that was particularly meaningful to him. “Being down in Orlando, in the heart of Disney land, with no phones and no other distractions – that was a highlight for me.”
With the 2016 Invictus Games behind him, Bruno is setting his sights on his next goal. “I’ve learned that for me to be well, I need to set a goal that motivates me on a daily basis. I need to have something to look forward to, like the Invictus Games, to keep me on track”. What’s next for Bruno? In January 2017, Bruno plans to hike 19,340 feet up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as part of Outward Bound Canada’s Reach Beyond Fundraising Expedition. Funds raised will go towards important charitable causes, including helping Canadian veterans who are facing challenges post-deployment, a cause that Bruno is far too familiar with.
We wish Bruno the best of luck on this inspiring expedition!