Kevin Berry never met Greg Matters or his family but still felt it was important to be Matters' funeral on Monday.
Berry is an veteran of the war in Afghanistan and is a member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Berry understands what Matters was going through in the days leading up to his death earlier this month.
"The main focus of today for me was that we as a country have many veterans who are suffering as a result of their service to this country," Berry said. "And we lost a guy. We lost someone is the fight against PTSD. We lost a brother-in-arms, we lost a friend, we lost a comrade and the Matters' family is bearing the brunt of that today."
Matters, a veteran of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, also had PTSD. He was shot by police after a 30-hour standoff in Pineview. An investigation into his death is underway.
Berry has seen too many friends and colleagues die as a result of PTSD. Just this week Alex Hogan, a man Berry served with, took his own life at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.
Berry came up from Vancouver to attend the funeral, support the family and raise awareness for PTSD. He said many more soldiers and veterans are suffering from the disease and is hoping to help create an environment where they can get the treatment they need.
"The most difficult thing with PTSD is admitting there's a problem," he said, adding he's thankful get the treatment he required and to have a strong support network around him.
Berry said he felt the tone of the funeral was appropriate. People spoke of Greg's life, his commitment to service and how he was making progress in his battle with PTSD in the months leading up to his death.
"The focus was quite correctly kept on remembrance and celebration of life, versus assigning blame or anger regarding the circumstances of Greg's death," he said. "The investigation is going to unfold the way it is."