From Flag to Competition to Reflection: Dale Robillard Shares His Invictus Experience
Dale Robillard competed in the golf competition at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, and he ranked 11th in the men’s golf finals. A resident of British Columbia, he served as an official flagbearer during the National Flag Tour. He may not have nabbed a medal in the finals, but for this retired master warrant officer with the Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue team, it was never about ranking well in the competition.
“I’m humbled and honoured to represent both the Invictus Games and Soldier On, as these organizations have literally saved my life,” he said.
After accepting an invitation from Invictus to compete, Dale started to play golf again, something he hadn’t done in years. And it changed his family’s life, too. His wife took a leave of absence from work and the couple moved south so he could train through the winter.
He said this will be his first and last Games as a competitor. Crediting the Games with helping lift his depression, Dale found the experience so positive, he doesn’t want to take a spot from another veteran who might need it.
“I feel this year’s been so powerful,” Dale said. “It’s been so good to me and my family. Would I like to do it? Absolutely. I’d love to do it again. I’d probably be involved in more activities, but I absolutely won’t do it.”
Dale says it was a special treat for him that the Games acknowledged the friends and family of service people. His wife says during the Opening Ceremony, she could tell her husband was looking at her every time families were mentioned.
“When I see in her eyes that she’s being acknowledged for everything she’s done. It’s easy to look at a veteran and see, oh, you’ve got a prosthetic, a limp, memory issues, or what have you. But, you never see the impact that [being a veteran] has had over the course of time on the families. Seeing my wife and the other friends and families being treated with such respect, that is my best moment. There’s lots of signs, lots of colours, lights, music, that’s all cool. But the coolest thing is friends and family being put on a pedestal, and that’s my treat.”