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Master Corporal (Retd) Jean-François Paré

After some difficult years following his medical release from the Canadian Armed Forces, Jean-François Paré has found his smile again. His unique and touching experience with the Adaptive Sports Foundation has led him to the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023.

Sherbrooke, Québec


Master Corporal (Retd) Jean-François Paré




  • Shilo, Manitoba
  • Valcartier, Québec


  • 2002 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Balkans
  • 2004 Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2006 Kandahar, Afghanistan

Jean-François joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1996 and completed his artillery course in Shilo, Manitoba, before being posted to Valcartier.

In 2002, he deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina for seven months as part of the Canadian Armed Forces operation in the country. In 2004, he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, for six months followed by a second, nine-month tour to Kandahar two years later.

“That’s where my PTSD came from... my world was turned upside down, and I had to leave the military because of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

His deployments took a toll on him and on those close to him. Not long after returning to Canada from his last tour, he began suffering from PTSD and was medically discharged in 2009. “When you’re released for medical reasons, from one day to the next, it comes to an end – the camaraderie is gone. I would have done 25 to 30 years, but I ended up doing 15,” he said.

He went through a dark and difficult period. He had planned for a long military career, but suddenly found himself without a uniform and, most importantly, without colleagues to lean on. Unsure about his next move, he decided to clear his mind with a road trip across the United States. After six months, he returned home and went back to trade school to take a course in refrigeration, a field in which he worked for two years.

Unfortunately, his PTSD came back in full force, which led him to Veterans Affairs Canada to get the services he needed. Today, Jean-François dedicates himself to his healing and recovery. He also volunteers and takes care of his two sons, aged 8 and 10.

“It’s been six years that I’ve done it [volunteer], and it’s saved my life because I got involved. I’m a full-time volunteer.”

In 2017, his world began to crumble around him. His invisible wounds weren’t just affecting him, they were affecting his personal life and ultimately led to a separation from his partner a few years later. He says a meeting with former CFL player Steve Charbonneau, executive director of the Adaptive Sports Foundation, changed everything—maybe even saved his life. Since then, he has a new mission, and continues to give back to the foundation by volunteering full-time.

“I have the feeling of serving my country again. I can represent my country, [rediscover] the pride that I had... I feel like the camaraderie is the same as when I served.”

No stranger to adaptive sports, Jean-François’ motivation for applying to the Invictus Games was to experience the brotherhood and camaraderie he enjoyed while serving. He applied five times before getting the opportunity to compete.

Jean-François will compete in shot put, discus, archery and wheelchair rugby at the Invictus Games 2023 in Germany. He is looking forward to proudly representing his country. “I didn’t serve for nothing. I want to win and represent my country again,” he concluded.

With courage, integrity and loyalty, Jean-François Paré has left his mark. He is one of our Canadian Veterans. Discover more stories.

If you are a Veteran, a family member or a caregiver who needs mental health support, the VAC Assistance Service is available to you 24/7, 365 days a year, at no cost. Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional today.

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