Artists will often say their best work comes when the subject matter is close to their heart. Whether it is a special place reproduced in a landscape, or a special person in a portrait, a connection to the subject brings out the best in an artist.
For Kimberley artist MaryAnn Bidder, the organization Soldier On has a special place in her heart because they have been a big help to her son Bob.
Soldier On is an organization, founded in 2006, that helps injured military veterans adjust to their disabilities through active participation in physical, recreational and sporting activities.
Bob was helped by Soldier On when his 24 year career as a Canadian Forces medic was ended when he developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving numerous tours overseas including in the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
“He credits Soldier On with helping him to recover from the PTSD and to adjust to a more normal life,” Bidder says of her son.
In order to assist Soldier On in their work with wounded veterans, Bidder has donated an original water colour of an injured soldier sit skiing. The painting will be auctioned off by Soldier On to raise funds for their programs.
MaryAnn says that she noticed a big improvement in Bob’s condition after he joined the program, which is why she wants to bring as much attention to Soldier On as she can and to raise as many funds as possible for it through her art work.
While the original painting has already been passed on to Soldier On, a framed reproduction can be seen at Chateau Kimberley Hotel and Art Gallery. Reproduction notecards are also available for purchase at the hotel, with all proceeds going to Soldier On.
Last year, Soldier On gave Bob Bidder a bicycle and sent him on a Soldier On event bike ride from France to London, England.
“He has continued to cycle and is currently part of an international team of injured veterans from Canada, the U.S. and Denmark participating in an 800 mile, two week ride from Ottawa to Washington, DC,” MaryAnn said. “The team will ride through Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and were due to arrive at the Capitol building in Washington this morning, Independence Day, and to join the Independence Day parade.”
For more information on the services Soldier On provides injured veterans, please see https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/DCSM/Soldier_On/