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Manitoba couple completes Red River cart journey for Ukrainian children

The Jeromes brought two Red River carts on their trek, along with four covered wagons, and a few outriders on horseback scouting ahead. (Source: Armand Jerome) The Jeromes brought two Red River carts on their trek, along with four covered wagons, and a few outriders on horseback scouting ahead. (Source: Armand Jerome)

A Manitoba couple has completed a two-week journey by Red River cart to raise money for children in Ukraine.

Armand Jerome and his wife Kelly spent years planning their Red River cart trip along the same trail used by the Red River Metis more than a century ago.

The two were originally supposed to take the journey in 2019 as part of Manitoba's 150th birthday celebrations.

"We were involved in the Manitoba 150 celebration. We had done the dog sled trek from Kenora up to the Whitemouth River," Jerome said. "A couple of months later we were supposed to pick up the Red River carts and hook them up with horses, and then we were supposed to finish the trek."

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to those plans.

A few years later, Jerome still had the urge to complete the journey – he just needed a good reason to do it. He found it on the nightly news.

"We discovered that there was these children that were suffering, innocent children suffering the effects of the (Ukraine) war out there and we felt really bad about them we kind of heard their call for help," said Jerome.

They decided to take their Red River carts on a nearly 100 kilometre journey along the Dawson Trail. The group started in Hadashville, Man. and rode west to the centre of Canada, all in an effort to raise money for children affected by the war in Ukraine.

Jerome's background is Metis and his wife's Ukrainian, so he felt it was a great way to bring the two sides together.

The Jeromes brought two Red River carts on their trek, along with four covered wagons, and a few outriders on horseback scouting ahead. They stayed at various campsites along the way, garnering donations through a GoFundMe page.

Jerome said they had many people join them along the way. "We left it open for them to come and join us, they're more than welcome to come with us and they're inspired to do something like this, to make a difference," he said.

He added that the trip was not an easy one with a few injuries along the way, and some stressful moments. "It became a level four forest fire hazard, we had to kind of rush out of there towards Richer," Jerome said. "That made for a very long strenuous day."

The group came together to finish the journey Sunday at the longitudinal centre of Canada, just east of Winnipeg.

Jerome said it was an amazing experience. "We had some rough days, we had some really good days in the end we made it to the Centre of Canada on time and were just really proud of what we did."

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