Veteran ready to roll with PTSD-awareness journey

Corporal Retired Scott Casey dips his rear tire in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the start of last year’s Rolling Barrage.

Corporal Retired Scott Casey dips his rear tire in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at the start of last year’s Rolling Barrage.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

The haunting memories from a United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the Balkans in 1992 was the pivotal reason Corporal (Retired) Scott Casey became the President of non-profit Military Minds Inc. and founder of the motorcycle rally The Rolling Barrage.

Paralyzed by the UN’s rules of engagement during the mission, the Royal Canadian Regiment soldier was forced to witness the killing of a mother and child as they carried water back to their home. The horrific memories of his seven-month deployment in the war-torn region still haunt him to this day and are the root of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“You can’t forget something like that; you just work through it and try to put it behind you,” said Casey. “All you can do is move forward.”

Two years after the Balkans mission he retired from the military. Fifteens years after that he saw a need to join Military Minds and connect the thousands of military and civilian first responders suffering from PTSD to support programs.

Tattooed on his arm are 53 bullets. Thirty nine of those bullets represent the lives of Canadian soldiers who died in action, while 14 represent the lives of soldiers who died from suicide since his 1992 tour in the Balkans. It’s a staggering number, says Casey.

“I still experience PTSD symptoms to this day. Once you have it, it’s a chemical change in your body and it doesn’t go away,” he explains. “But that’s why I have created a national motorcycle rally to create awareness and understanding about PTSD and operational stress injury (OSI).”

Now in its second year, The Rolling Barrage takes motorcyclists across Canada – from Halifax to Victoria – to raise awareness of the mental health issue and eliminate the stigma associated with it. Twenty-two riders will join Casey in Halifax Aug. 6 as they set off on the 7,500-kilometre journey. Their final destination is Victoria on Aug. 22.

The relay name is a nod to the First World War and the Canadian soldiers who helped take Vimy Ridge. By employing a rolling barrage of artillery fire, soldiers were able to walk up the hill under its cover and take control of the ridge.

“The term Rolling Barrage seemed relevant to me because my Great Grandfather Vincent Bernard Casey fought at Vimy,” said Casey. “With last year being Canada’s 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of Vimy, combined with my undying my love of motorcycles I decided to launch the tour.”

A team of volunteers will assist Casey and the riders with logistical support at each stop. Sooke resident and motorcycle enthusiast Geoff Turner is the point man for the Rolling Barrage Vancouver Island leg. Turner is working to organize the tour’s grand finale event at Victoria’s Sandman hotel, and a silent auction fundraiser. He feels strongly about the cause because his father served with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserves during the Battle of the Atlantic.

“I know PTSD and OSI are huge issues and have several friends who have experienced this,” said Turner. “When I heard what Scott was doing, it was a natural for me to get involved because there is so much that needs to be done, and hasn’t been done, for our service men and women.”

The Rolling Barrage is looking for more motorcycle enthusiasts to join this year’s caravan, along with additional volunteers to help along the way.

It’s not all about fund-raising, says Casey. Equally important is raising awareness about the complexities of the injuries and their wide-ranging impact on society. One way of doing that is showcasing Military Minds Inc, an active, connected membership for those in the mental health corridor between an OSI and PTSD, via the motorcycle relay.

“Brotherhood is significant in any healing and this relay will showcase this spirit to people across the nation,” said Casey.

Rolling on the Island

Motorcycle enthusiasts will have a chance to join this year’s tour when it touches down on Vancouver Island at the Loyal Order of Moose in Nanaimo on Aug. 22. To register for the last leg of the ride which begins in Nanaimo and ends at Victoria’s Sandman Hotel later that day, visit the or register by 2 p.m. at the Loyal Order of Moose.

For more information on how to support the Rolling Barrage visit their website,

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