Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meet some friends of ours

A few days ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Michelle McQuigge from the Canadian press about what our plans were after Canada’s combat mission ended in Afghanistan. I wanted to feature the article on here to introduce you to some other Canadians doing amazing things also who were also featured in this article.
Hero To Hero – Team Canada – Kevin McHarg I met Kevin a few years back on Facebook and heard of the Hero to Hero program which is a morale program for Canadian & US troops where first responders send the shirts off their backs with messages of support on them as well as care packages to our men and women serving. You can also check out HeroToHero.US for the US Version.

The Red Friday Ladies – Karen & Lisa These two ladies are responsible for bringing Red Friday to Canada five years ago this month and also have hearts of gold when it comes to Support Of our troops. They have no ulterior means or out for any sort of gain or recognition for the things they do they just want people to never forget our men and women all over the world. Check out “The Red Friday Ladies” on Facebook & Twitter

"Karen Wilson (AKA Petrolia Cookie Lady) has sent thousands of cookies to our Canadian Military overseas . On May 28, 2011 she had sent 35,700 cookies. All baked in her home by herself. She sells her cookies and "Support our Troops" buttons that her husband M.B. makes to raise the money to make the cookies. The people of Petrolia and business of Petrolia have helped her make her dream come true and she continues today sending cookies. She wants our Canadian Soldiers to know that they are loved, they are our Hero's and will never be forgotten. Check out her Facebook page

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
TORONTO - When Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan entered its final phase, Karen Wilson got on board. The Ontario grandmother doubled her electric bill and burned out a convection oven while producing more than 35,000 cookies as a show of support to the Canadian soldiers who were putting their lives on the line in the war-ravaged country.

Labouring in her kitchen in Petrolia, Ont., Wilson churned out shortbread confections by the hundreds, devoting no less than eight hours a week to the task. On weekends, she sold baked goods and homemade "Support the Troops" buttons at community events to finance her project.
As Canada prepares to end its combat role in Afghanistan for good, Wilson is looking forward to the first lull in her schedule since 2008. She acknowledges looking forward to the break, which she expects to spend mostly with her grandchildren, but hopes the respite is temporary.

"Even when I bake in the summer when it's hot, I keep thinking when I pull them out of the oven, I'm hot and the sweat's coming off me maybe a little bit, but I think, 'Those young guys are over there, and they're in much worse conditions than I am,'" Wilson said.

"If I can just send a little bit of love and the taste of home, it makes me happy."
Wilson's attitude is typical of the civilians who devoted time and often money to the cause of promoting Canada's troops. The nearly decade-long mission in Afghanistan has inspired Canadians across the country, many of whom had no direct connection with the military, to launch grassroots projects designed to encourage soldiers in their work.

Some of those initiatives, such as the "Red Fridays" movement, took on a national scope and demanded major commitments from their founders. Military wives Lisa Miller and Karen Boire have spent the past five years organizing campaigns and rallies urging Canadians to don red on Fridays as a mark of support for the troops. Miller admitted to feeling a little burned out.

"I think I'm just going to take a break," she said. "It takes a lot of energy and time when you plan these events. I'd like to slow down a little bit." Miller and other military supporters, however, say their work is far from over, and are bracing for a long-term struggle to maintain public interest in military affairs once the high-profile mission has faded from the headlines.
Kevin McHarg, a firefighter from Sarnia, Ont., who started Hero to Hero Team Canada, said public support will almost certainly wane as the mission recedes into history. "Everything has a life," McHarg said.

"No matter how good a cause it is, people get weary of hearing about it. You can't do anything about it except try and do your part to keep things going." McHarg collects used shirts from fellow firefighters, police officers and other first responders across the country. The shirts are emblazoned with handwritten messages of encouragement, packed up with contributions from local businesses, including Wilson's cookies, and shipped to soldiers serving abroad. McHarg, who currently devotes a part of every day to his project, said he'll likely have to work even harder to drum up future clothing donations once the combat mission ends.

The end of Canadian combat in Afghanistan won't diminish Hero to Hero's mandate, he added: there will still be hundreds of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan in a training capacity, as well as many others in locales around the world, including Haiti and Libya.

Dave Murphy, a 35-year-old Calgary resident behind a series of online campaigns to promote the efforts of Canadian soldiers, said he feels the same way. Murphy's website,, has attracted more than 4.1 million Facebook supporters from around the world, about a quarter of whom live in Canada, he said. Some of Murphy's advocacy efforts were directly tied to the Afghan mission, such as the successful campaign to encourage Tim Hortons to provide free coffee to the soldiers deployed at Kandahar Airfield.

The end of the combat mission means even more opportunities to promote military causes, said Murphy, noting that his current campaign to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder has taken on new urgency as war-weary soldiers return from the battlefield.

The Forces boosters all say supporting the troops must continue long after the mission in Afghanistan comes to an end. "Some people just assume that because our soldiers, for the most part, are coming out of Afghanistan that we're going to stop," McHarg said. It's just a matter of letting them know that no, we're not stopping."

This article has been featured in : Yahoo News Canada, Winnipeg Free Press, News1130,, Times Of India,,,, 570 News, 600 CKAT, 610 CKTB, 680 News,,, AM 1150,,,, My Kitchen, 630 CHED, CJOB 68 Manitoba, iNews 880,, News Talk 1010,,,, Penticton herald, The Cornwall Daily, AM 770 CHQR,, AM 980, 900 CHML, Q107, Kelowna Daily, 640 Toronto, CKNW, Yorkton This Week, CJ104 Toronto, Sarnia Times, K93,, Medicine Hat News, Humboldt Journal,, USA Today,,, Brandon Sun, Lethbridge Herald, NEWS,, Portal for North America, 923 Jack FM, Sask Lifestyles, The Guardian - News, Merrit News - Merritt BC, Western Star, The St. John's Telegram, Canadian Mortgage magazine, Cranbrook Daily

No comments:

Post a Comment