Last month, I took a little road trip with a few friends from the War Resisters Support Campaign, to welcome a new baby and meet a new dog. This nice little visit would be unremarkable - if it weren't completely incredible. We visited the Brockway family.
Not that long ago, no one from the Campaign had met Jeremy Brockway. An Iraq War veteran, Jeremy suffered from severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD. He was unable to leave his room. He rarely shared a meal with his family or spent any time with his children. (More background: here and here.)
After hearing Ashlea Brockway speak in a Port Colborne church, Bruce Beyer, a peace activist and Vietnam-era war resister, connected the Brockways with a therapist. This doctor is himself a veteran who once struggled with PTSD. At no cost, on his own time, the doctor worked with the Brockways via Skype. And so began the gradual return to life of this wounded veteran and his young family.
Ashlea read a story about service dogs for people with PTSD and did some research. The War Resisters Support Campaign helped with some seed money, and before long, our fundraising efforts began. Allan picked up the story on his blog, and Joy of Sox readers gave generously. Now Buddha is a certified service dog and a member of the Brockway family. Jeremy and Buddha go everywhere together. And Jeremy and Ashlea and their children are a family again.
And so, on that sunny day in October, my friends and I met three Brockways for the first time - baby Alden, canine Buddha, and loving dad and husband, Jeremy. Alden is beautiful, Buddha is adorable, Ashlea is amazing, and the family is altogether wonderful.
I thought a camera would be intrusive, so this is a photo Ashlea sent.
That's the good news.
The bad news is the Brockways don't know what will happen to the life that they've struggled to build. That's the big question that hangs over this family - and all US war resisters in Canada. What will happen to them?
Ashlea and Jeremy Brockway have three children, and Jeremy is in treatment for a serious condition. But will that be enough for the Harper Government to show compassion, to respect Canadian tradition, and let them stay?
Recent history offers an answer: war resister Kimberly Rivera is being held at Fort Carson, Colorado, awaiting court martial, while her husband and their four children are in Texas. The Riveras were forced to leave Canada by a heartless government that has abandoned Canada's tradition of giving refuge to people fleeing unjust wars.
But the Brockways' struggle continues. Their case is still pending. Many other US war resisters also wait for an answer to this question.
None of us know what will happen to U.S. war resisters in Canada. But I know one thing: the fight is not over.