Oak Bay veteran Joseph E. L. (Larry) Gollner holds a book called ‘Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry General Officers First 100 Years’ in which he was featured. (Flavio Nienow/News staff)

Oak Bay veteran sent to over 60 countries during his career

The advocate for veterans’ issues says growing awareness around PTSD has had a positive impact

Oak Bay’s Joseph E. L. (Larry) Gollner describes his military career with one word – “lucky.”

During the course of his career, Larry traveled to more than 60 countries, including China, Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya, Austria, Norway and China. He had three children – each born in a different country – with his wife of 56 years Christine Gollner.

“I loved the adventure,” says Christine, adding they moved 24 times while Larry served on different missions.

The 80-year-old veteran joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in 1956 and served mainly in the PPCLI’s second battalion, which defends Canadian interests at home and abroad.

RELATED: Oak Bay retired Brigadier-General earns Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

He said one of their most challenging missions took place in northern Norway, where the Canadian Forces encountered an “extremely difficult terrain” while they assisted the Norwegian army in preventing a possible Russian intrusion.

“I had a great time,” he said emphatically.

Although Gollner retired from the military in 1993, he has been actively involved with veterans’ issues.

Between 2006 to 2010, he went to Afghanistan twice to visit battle groups of the Regiment of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and was very active in supporting families of the fallen and the wounded.

RELATED: Victoria site of B.C.’s first Afghanistan memorial to Canadian soldiers

As the patron of the Canadian Peacekeepers Veterans Association, Gollner continues to work toward improved quality of life for wounded and ill veterans. He has also been a member of the Veteran’s Ombudsman’s Advisory Council, a position that allows him to provide insight in an important forum for veterans.

Earlier this year he earned a Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements from across the country and abroad.

READ MORE: Oak Bay retired Brigadier-General earns Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

According to Gollner, the growing awareness around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is having a positive impact on Canadian veterans.

“I think the whole question of PTSD is now dealt with more responsibly than it was,” he said. “It wasn’t dealt with well in the ‘80s and ‘90s – the system wasn’t reacting, and people didn’t know what was wrong with [veterans struggling with PTSD].”

Although Canadians have started to hear a lot more about PTSD in recent years, the condition is known to exist at least since the times of ancient Greece, and has been called by many different names.

But while there’s more awareness nowadays, Gollner says there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to supporting veterans struggling with PTSD.

“It never will be perfect, but at least a whole bunch of people are working hard now to try to make it so.”


 

flavio.nienow@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Bureaucratic mix-up’ could lead to Sooke daycare closure

Sooke CAO confident daycare situation can be resolved

Sooke launches Hockeyville bid

Up for grabs: $250,000 in arena upgrades and an NHL game

New Sooke education academy focuses on environment, community

Program still requires school board approval

Sooke boardwalk reopens to public

Downed tree damages structure during last week’s wind storm

Lion dance, Kung Fu demonstrations celebrate Chinese New Year

Sunday’s event rings in the Year of the Rat

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read