Sparwood Resident and infantry war veteran

Local war veteran reflects

Aaron Kozler, Sparwood veteran, reflects on eight years of service to the Canadian Military.

  • Nov. 18, 2016 5:00 p.m.

By Phil McLachlan

Elk Valley is home to many Veterans, some alive and well, and some passed on. Aaron Kozler, a Sparwood resident, served eight years in the infantry, the majority of which was spent out east with the Second Batallion Royal Canadian Regiment. Since the formation of this regiment in 1883, it has partaken in every military campaign undertaken by Canada.

“It was a privilege to do a service that I felt, was selfless,” said Kozler. “My grandfather did it in World War Two, and I thought that I needed to give back to my country, as a citizen of Canada.

“Never forget what our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have done for this country,” he added. “For our freedom, our rights, our right of speech, our right to vote and our right to be free. That’s something that needs to be upheld, especially nowadays with all the turmoil with different factions and uncertainties around the world; I think it’s needed more than ever right now.”

Throughout his service, Kozler believes his eyes have been opened to the ways of the world, and he believes that he has gained clarity on what it really means to be a Canadian citizen. Five years into his service, Kozler was called up to serve overseas in Afghanistan. Throughout his time there in 2010, he was affected by the high-stress environment, and since then has dealt with the struggle of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something that affects 11 per cent of Afghanistan veterans.

“It’s a disorder that’s affecting Canadian soldiers a lot,” said Kozler. “It’s more of a pride thing. Especially in the infantry, a lot of guys didn’t want to release their feelings. It’s a big thing, and it’s something that needs to be addressed more and more.”

Recovery has been a long process for Kozler, and he found much refuge through the support of his own battalion. He believes that PTSD is being addressed well enough on paper, but sees a void in genuine emotional support for the soldiers.

In 2013, after eight years in the infantry, Kozler withdrew from the army and now resides back in his hometown of Sparwood. Asked about Remembrance Day, he shared his view on this annual commemoration.

“Remembrance Day is a very deep thing for me, especially this time of year,” said Kozler. “It’s very important to uphold as a tradition, deep in our hearts… We have that pride and honour that many countries do not have. We are a very proud nation, and it is a very good thing. Just uphold that. It’s very important to us, the soldiers, and the future soldiers in the generations to come.”

Just Posted

Arena repairs ongoing, user groups hosting annual functions elsewhere

A new refrigeration plant is expected to be in place by August 1.

Fernie misses mark for Hockeyville final four

Residents of Fernie were surprised Saturday night, when the final four communities… Continue reading

Fernie local apprehended after break and enter

An eagle-eyed resident has helped Elk Valley police nab an alleged burgler.… Continue reading

Former Riders coach reflects

Mohr looking for new opportunities after contract ends

Athletes ready for world stage

Three Fernie athletes to compete in the world’s biggest junior freeride competition.

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Abuse survivor Theo Fleury has been working with communities focusing on healing since 2009 and visited Esketemc First Nation in the Cariboo this week.

City to lobby province after councillor accused of crime refused to resign

Dave Murray was sentenced to nine months for a sexual assault that occurred 26 years ago

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Most Read