Rally Point Retreat continues to offer support to those suffering from PTSD

Amy Woolvett amywoolvett@thecoastguard.ca
Published on January 9, 2017

Bob and Johan Grundy operate the Rally Point Retreat in Sable River, Shelburne County.


SABLE RIVER, N.S. – In the time since it opened last year, Rally Point Retreat in Sable River, Shelburne County, has been a place that those suffering from PTSD can turn to.

The operators of the retreat, Bob and Johan Grundy, welcomed 15 people into their retreat to help them find the strength, the peer support and sometimes just the quiet space to continue on.

While these 15 people suffering through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)  sought shelter at the retreat, Bob Grundy strives to reach out to more people as quickly as he can to let them know the retreat is there for them.

“We wished (our numbers) were four more,” says Grundy.  “We missed that one.”

The one he refers to is 33-year-old Lionel Desmond who last week shot and killed his wife, mother and daughter before turning the gun on himself in a tragic incident in Big Tracadie, Nova Scotia.

RELATED: Deaths in Upper Big Tracadie leave relatives, community shocked

Desmond was a former soldier in Afghanistan and relatives have said he suffered from PTSD. According to at least one relative, he had been seeking help, but just one day before the shooting had been turned away from a local hospital.

It’s important that people experiencing PTSD get the help they need, Grundy says.

“This is a mental health issue,” he says.  “They’ve seen stuff we haven’t… we have not had their experiences.”

The Rally Point Retreat does not offer psychological counseling, but it does offer a quiet, safe space to help people regroup, to reconnect with families and to prevent further collateral damage from traumatic events.

This is a mental health issue. They’ve seen stuff we haven’t…we have not had their experiences Bob Grundy

Grundy says there are signs family and friends can watch out for when they suspect a loved one has PTSD – this includes the person suddenly stopping going to gatherings they once enjoyed, jumping or cringing at loud noises, increased alcohol consumption, mood swings and what he calls “the thousand yard stare.”

Still, he says, it can also affect people differently.

“It’s not cookie-cutter . . . people are very individual.”

While there were 15 people reached last year, the retreat operators want to reach all who need it in the coming year.

Click here to visit the Rally Point Retreat website.

The retreat is also expanding its programs. This year it will be creating an outdoor art gallery and classic car playground, in memory of Mac and Vicki Huskilson, two Lockeport area residents who died in December as the result of a motor vehicle accident.

The retreat will be offering cooking classes with cannabis for those with PTSD who are licensed for medical marijuana.

“We will have a cooking class to show people how to turn medical marijuana into other things,” said Johan Grundy.  “Butters, cookies, oils for cooking.  It helps with anxiety and depression and PTSD that has manifested into pain.”

They will also offer a program called Heal on the Fly, a fly fishing getaway for those with PTSD.

Bob Grundy says the winter is often the toughest time for someone suffering with the disorder.

He and Johan take it to heart when they hear of an incident such as the one that happened last week.

“His goal is to stop the suicides,” says Johan about Bob’s efforts.

According to the Wounded Warrior website, 160 people took their own lives between 2004 and 2014 because of PTSD in Canada.

When you add the lives of family members taken too – like those in this province last week – those already tragic numbers become even sadder.