(Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Dianne Collier, author of Hurry Up and Wait: An Inside Look at Life as a Canadian Military Wife, shared her own stories of resiliency in a time long before the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) even existed. This included having to do laundry in the bathtub using a plunger. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Katelyn Meidinger has survived much as a military spouse, more than most and yet has managed to come out on top and smiling. For her sharing her story, she took home the Best Survival Story Award. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
The Heart and Home Heroes gala was the perfect opportunity for the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) to thank all military spouses and partners for their sacrifices when their loved ones are away. The event was held inside Y-101 on June 14. From left are 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Commander Colonel (Col) Jason Adair, PMFRC Deployment Support Coordinator Frances Priest, PMFRC Community Engagement Coordinator Annie Beaudoin, PMFRC Executive Director Claudia Beswick, and Garrison Petawawa Commander Colonel (Col) Louis Lapointe. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post) (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
PMFRC honours Heart and Home Heroes
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday July 11, 2019
The Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) Heart and Home Heroes (HHH) event recognized the very special person it takes to be a military spouse or family member.
Most military spouses and partners will undergo challenges when their loved one is away, either deployed, on exercise, on Imposed Restrictions, in the field or on course. They can range from relatively small to adversity that shakes the very fabric of the family unit. Yet despite setbacks, military spouses move forward, showing their strength and resiliency again and again.
Eighty-two of these spouses and partners were recognized at the June 14 event, receiving gifts, a certificate of appreciation as well as a red rose - a tradition that sees a red rose handed from one military spouse to another with deep appreciation and love. These were handed out by Garrison Petawawa Commander Colonel (Col) Louis Lapointe and 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Commander Colonel (Col) Jason Adair, who thanked each and every recipient for their contributions.
“You are all special people,” said Col Lapointe. “You are all the strength behind the uniform.”
“We can do nothing alone,” noted Col Adair. “Sometimes we think we can, but we are proven wrong time and again.”
The event took on a gala format inside a transformed Y-101, with Dianne Collier, author of Hurry Up and Wait: An Inside Look at Life as a Canadian Military Wife, as guest speaker.
Stories about survival and resilience as well as advice on how to make it through one of those long separations were shared.
They were submitted by either the military member as a surprise to show their appreciation, or by the spouse themselves who just wanted to share a funny story or two with the crowd.
Five of these stories were chosen and special awards were presented to the honouree.
“I want you to know that we see you,” said PMFRC Executive Director Claudia Beswick, adding the spouses who are left behind truly do keep the home fires burning.
Many of the stories spoke of sacrifice, hardship, pain and ultimately overcoming adversity. It can be in some ways just as hard for the person at home than it is for the one away, as they are the ones confronted with the realities of day-to-day living such as raising children, dealing with illnesses, surprise financial woes, injuries, deaths and accidents, as well as attending countless events and activities alone, said Beswick.
Yet military families are in it together, and advice was shared at the event.
Erin Taylor said in her essay: “Hang in there. I know it may seem too simple or half-hearted to say, but everyone’s experience is different and we all handle deployments differently. One thing remains the same - it’s never easy.” She recommended that spouses use the time for personal development and reminded them that “you will go through ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Full of hope one moment and then sad and miserable the next. You are the rock, the support that takes care of everything during this time. You are so valuable and important.”
The special award recipients were Patricia Leboeuf for the Funniest Deployment Story, the Most Heartwarming Story went to Katie Blaikie, the Best Survival Story went to Katelyn Meidinger, Jacqueline Girouard won Most Supportive Story while the Best Advice award went to Erin Taylor.