Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year to Our Military!

On behalf of other military moms, wives, dads, husbands, families and friends..
I'd like to wish all soldiers a safe and successful mission- wishing you success in all your endeavours in 2007!

Keeping you close in thought and prayer.
Thinking of you and wishing you the strength and courage .
I salute and honour soldiers and families everywhere.
Our heroes.
~ by: Military Mom

New Year's Message from:
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean,
Governor General of Canada, January 1, 2007

Photo by: Military Mom

..Certainly, we must all celebrate and salute the community spirit and actions of our fellow citizens. I also know that this has been a difficult year for many families. My thoughts are especially with our soldiers in Afghanistan and their loved ones—who have endured great hardship. Indeed, they are making great sacrifices. Let me share with you that everywhere I have been—everywhere—I have been moved by the courage, energy, generosity and openness of the Canadian people.

For me, that openness is living proof of our success as a country. That openness is also our greatest message of hope for humanity. As we embark on a new year, dear friends, let us not forget this important message that we, as Canadians, can bring to the world. And let us strengthen our resolve to spread this message far and wide. My husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, my daughter Marie-Éden and the Rideau Hall team join me in wishing you all peace, health, happiness and serenity.” For Complete Speech

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

FOCSIA Held an Open House December 28th

For Soldiers and/or Family members of soldiers serving in Afghanistan, have served in Afghanistan or will be serving in Afghanistan...

"Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan"

(Support group based out of Waterloo Region) hosted an Open House at the Waterloo Branch at the Royal Canadian Legion on Thursday, December 28th 2006. Giving chance to meet with other parents, families and friends of soldiers serving overseas, it also gave everyone an opportunity to meet with soldiers who had served, currently serving (on leave) and soldiers preparing for deployment. We spoke with each other, met new family members, laughed, cried, looked at pictures, listened to stories -most importantly- provided support to one another.

"I'd like to give a special thank Cpl H. for answering all my many questions and providing me with a link to my son who seems so far away. Thanks for passing on that special hug."

If you are a mother, father, family member or friend of a soldier and would like further information or would like to become a member, contact Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan at:

Email: Familes of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan ">

Monday, December 25, 2006


It's Christmas !!!...

To All our Soldiers- away from home this holiday season, and those on leave at home or overseas..
on behalf of Military Moms, Dads, familes and friends in Canada,
I'd like to wish you a Very Merry Christmas!

P.S. Saw a couple flakes of snow on the drive home. Otherwise the grass is green, the rain has stopped and there's a chill in the air.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas with the Troops in Kandahar

December 24, 2006

MP's, Entertainers to Spend Christmas with the Troops in Kandahar

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN--Canadian troops in Kandahar got a surprise visit today from a Canadian group which includes Canada's Defence Chief, a Cabinet Minister, two Members of Parliament, three well-known entertainers, a news anchor and a Quebec Rock Group.

The group will be spending Christmas in Kandahar with Canada's 2,500 troops, development workers, police and diplomats.
Gen. Rick Hillier celebrated with his family a week ago so he could spend Christmas with Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The chief of the defence staff flew yesterday to the patrol frigate HMCS Ottawa in the Persian Gulf to start a whirlwind holiday tour. Hillier brought along some entertainment, including comedians Rick Mercer and Mary Walsh and the Montreal rock band Jonas. Shoehorning a family Christmas into his schedule was one thing, finding time for shopping for his wife, Joyce, two sons and grandson Jack was another. "I had to beg forgiveness based on future recompense," he said.

Gen. Rick Hillier gets off the aircraft in
Kandahar airfield on Sunday. He said
he celebrated Christmas with his family
a week earlier so he could spend time
with troops in Afghanistan.
Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Rick Hillier is also accompanied by Treasury Board President, the honourable John Baird; Members of Parliament, Laurie Hawn and Jay Hill; entertainers Rick Mercer and Mary Walsh; Ottawa News Anchor, Max Keeping; singer Damhnait Doyle, and the rock group Jonas. The visiting group also brought some Christmas gifts along for the Kandahar-based Canadians.

Gen. Rick Hillier shakes hands with most of the soldiers, asking some if they were getting enough sleep and teasing another about his spiky hair.

The holiday season is far from the minds of soldiers working in the field, who say they're focused on the job at hand. Back at the base, however, there are Christmas decorations in the main eating area.
Some soldiers said their families held early Christmas gatherings before they left for Afghanistan in November. One soldier who is heading home in February said his family members planned to keep their tree up until then. (I believe many parents and families will be doing the same)

I know many Military Moms wish they could be there as well (serving up the coffee, putting out the turkey, wearing Santa hats) - but I know our hearts are there with our troops always.

Merry Christmas to Our Soldiers
from all Military Moms and Dads

and Families and Friends

xoaAcross Canada!

See the post below with Christmas greetings from our soldiers to families.

Gift Lifts Soldier's Spirits

December 24th, 2006

Sitting at his observation post high
in Kandahar province,
Pte. James Arnal reads a Christmas card
sent to him by a student in Quebec.
"I'll be calling in the reindeer," he jokes.

Afghanistan - Slouched inside a sandbagged bunker, at the top of an alpine military placement, Pte. James Arnal slurps down instant noodles from a Styrofoam cup. He does not seem infused with Yuletide joy.
Who could blame him? In this lonely spot, inside a country so distant and foreign from his own, and in the midst of an interminable war, Arnal feels adrift. Were it not for a few decorations and greeting cards that hang from a piece of string in his bunker, one would hardly know that it's Christmas time at all.
"I've never been away from home at Christmas before," says the 23-year-old Winnipeg native, nibbling at the last of his noodles.
Manning an observation post in dusty Kandahar province is not the first place he'd chose to spend the season, but so it is. "I'll be calling in the reindeer," he said.
Otherwise, he plans to spend Monday the same way he spends every day here: Gazing out at the Now it is Christmas, in Kandahar. Pte. Arnal misses his family, his girlfriend, and his buddies back home. He sends them messages when he can, and places a phone call now and then. It's not the same.
But something happened recently that lifted his spirits. He received a letter, from a Canadian teenager grateful for his efforts.
Actually, the letter wasn't addressed to him. "It was 'To Any Canadian Soldier,' Pte. Arnal recalls. "I opened it and read the letter. It was really nice. It was from someone in Quebec named Tristynn Duheme."
Duheme, it turns out, is a 15-year-old Grade 10 student who lives in St. Anicet, about 80 kilometres west of Montreal. She wrote the letter as part of a class project. Arnal took the time to reply and express his thanks for the thoughtful gesture.
On Saturday, he received another mailing from Duheme. This one included a cheery Christmas card, and a care package containing an assortment of goodies: potato chips, candy, chocolate, and best of all, several boxes of Kraft Dinner, a Canadian staple.
Reached at her home Saturday, Duheme says she sent the young private the care package and card because she "felt bad for him, stuck over there with nothing, when I have everything. I'm very happy to hear that he received them."For his part, Arnal says the gesture made him "pretty ecstatic. It made my day."And it should make his difficult Christmas a bit easier to swallow. arid landscape, looking for Taliban fighters. More from the National Post.

Merry Christmas to all our soldiers!
We are thinking of you each and every day

They are Military's Best Friends

With Christmas, comes Big Juicy Bones for Military Dogs
December 24-06

KABUL COMPOUND, Afghanistan -- Staff Sgt. David Yepsen rewards his
military working dog, Dax, with a toy after Dax found an item Sergeant Yepsen
hid in a vehicle for training purposes. The two are the only Air Force canine team
in Afghanistan. They are deployed supporting Operation Enduring Freedom from
the 43rd Security Forces Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C.

Heavy-duty boxes arrive at posts across the Middle East covered in cheery blue paw prints.
The military men and women know immediately that the Christmas presents inside are mostly not for them... but for their dogs.
Several hundred military dogs serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, manning (or perhaps dogging) checkpoints and sniffing for bombs, according to military publications. Like their human counterparts, they get killed and wounded.

But because the dogs are considered equipment, the military doesn't provide rope toys, dog beds or big bones to make their lives more enjoyable, said Amy Nichols, founder of Dogtopia Daycare & Spa. That's where her group steps in.
For the second year, volunteers from the company, which used to be called Happy Tails and has locations in Bethesda and Tysons Corner, packaged up hundreds of pounds of treats and toys and mailed them overseas.
"Making the dogs happy makes the troops happy," she said.
The effort has been so popular that the company has started its own charitable wing -- K-9 Support -- to collect donations.
"We'll continue to support military dogs until they all come home," Nichols said.
E-mail: for more information.

Brave dogs getting Chemainus treat for Christmas

Pam Pirie of Bone-A-Fide Treats and Gourmet Doggie Bakery in Chemainus
offers a freshly-baked Chemainus famous cheesy chew to yellow Lab Lou-Ella
Tuesday. Some of Pirie’s treats are bound for explosive-detection dogs in Afghanistan
who sit when they sniff out explosive odours.

Chemainiac Pam Pirie is playing Santa Claus to a pack of explosive-sniffing canines protecting Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
The owner of Bone-A-Fide Treats Gourmet Doggie Bakery and Boutique shipped a box of her specialty cookies Monday to the Canadian base at Kandahar where daughter, army Cpl. Jodi Pirie, is stationed.
Pirie just wants to reward the 16 hard-working mutts contracted through the American Canine Detection Services.
“I sent a box of 40 peanut butter, 40 liver, and 40 Chemainus famous cheesy chews and also a bag of mixed seconds, ones that I can’t really sell because they got a little overcooked or broken,” she says.
“Dogs don’t care what they look like as long as they taste good.
“With the cheesy chews, I’m putting a little bit of Chemainus into Afghanistan.”
Pirie first heard about the mine-sniffing dog detail when chatting on the Internet with colleagues in the Pet Industry Retail group.
“One person in PIR has a niece in Iraq where there’s an American group of dogs so I thought maybe I can help Canadian dogs in Afghanistan.
“I e-mailed Jodi and she talked to the people involved who said they’d love it.”
Pirie is requesting public donations to continue making and mailing doggie treats regularly to Kandahar even after postal charges take effect Jan. 15. Her cookies each cost about 50 cents to make.
“Right now I can send parcels there for free. For anyone with someone (family) deployed over there, the post office sends parcels to Belleville, Ont. then on to a military Hercules (airplane).
“After Jan. 15 I have to pay so I’d like to put a box or container in my shop where people can donate toward cookies going over.
“I’d like to get at least one more box under free postage after seeing when they receive this box and how they react to it.”
Monday’s parcel was mailed to Jodi with a forwarding note to the explosive-detection division in case her daughter’s away on patrol.
“I included cookie ingredients to see if the dogs prefer a particular treat. With specially trained dogs you can’t just give them things like this because they have special rules and regulations.”
Jodi, 26, was raised in Cowichan and sent to Kandahar airfield camp in November for duty in the army’s technical supply section.
She reports the dogs look like German shepherds.
“This will make people more involved and help our people and dogs over there.”
Pirie also plans to send the pooches cooling vests for summer use.
“Everyone pays attention to the people over there but these dogs are really on the front lines.”
She can be reached at 250-246-9908 or at her store at Address: 9744 Willow Street, Chemainus, British Columbia Canada V0R 1K0.

The dogs play a couple of roles - utmost and formost, they provide the security and a job of detecting bombs and explosives. Secondly, they provide morale for the soldiers during minimal downtime. Let's not forget ALL the troops.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christopher Alexander in Waterloo December 18

December 18-06
Christopher Alexander is one of the two Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary General for Afghanistan appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mr. Alexander is responsible for political issues, including continuing electoral and parliamentary issues, as well as issues related to peace and stability, security sector reform, and human rights.

Christopher Alexander served as Ambassador of Canada to Afghanistan from August 2003 until October 2005. Prior to this assignment he was Minister Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow from 2000 to 2003 and served as second secretary at the same mission from 1993 to 1996. He has also served at Foreign Affairs headquarters in Ottawa as deputy director responsible for Canada's bilateral relations with Russia and as Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Alexander joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1991. He received a BA from McGill University in Montreal in history and politics in 1985 and an MA from Balliol College at Oxford University in England in philosophy, politics and economics in 1991. Mr. Alexander was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2005.

Meeting Christopher Alexander was a true honour. As an eloquent and highly intelligible speaker, he opened the windows to the understanding of Canadian presence in Afghanistan.

He says, the achievements of reconstruction projects are too often lost in reports of bloodshed and violence, giving an impression of inevitable failure. "The news is always bad. You can build 500 kilometres of superhighway in places that never had roads before, or build cold storage for the farmers of Kandahar that improves their lives tremendously. But it's one roadside bomb that gets all the attention."

Alexander, 37, admits there's a shortage of good news in Afghanistan, five years after the overthrow of the Taliban.

In a recent raid on a bomb-making factory by the Afghan army, 40 potential suicide bombs were neutralized, he pointed out. "In a (recent) two-week period ... there had been 13 suicide bombings. This week the number was zero. It shows that if there is will and intelligence capability, the Taliban can be defeated."
Allegations that Pakistan is harbouring and training extremist fighters should be answered if the ."
Military operations shouldn't detract from desperately needed development and reconstruction efforts, Alexander said. "We chose a strong military commitment to Afghanistan on the basis of principles that are recognized as the right ones. We have a huge and under-recognized reconstruction commitment, too. But we still need to do more. To get the job done we have to ensure that the balance between development and military efforts is right."
If Canadian support for Afghanistan wavers, there is a danger of losing hearts and minds, he warned.
"The Canadian quality of stubbornness comes in handy at this time. We have had some success. Do we want to quit now? "There is a justifiable debate about which direction we should go in – but not a question about why we are there." The Star

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For anyone is interested, as part of its "Road Stories: The Home Front" special, the National will be featuring hour long stories from:
CFB Edmonton on Monday, December 11,
CFB Trenton on Tuesday December 12,
CFB Petawawa on Wednesday,December 13th.

It examines soldiers preparing for duty in Afghanistan, as well as their families preparing for their absence. Travelling the Canadian Bases to show you the home front of the Afghanistan Mission.

CBC "The National" (Waterloo Region - 10:00pm Channel 5 or 9:00pm ch 26)
I caught Tuesday's - from CFB Trenton. It was interesting seeing the care packages at Trenton.
(I think I saw some of mine- the ones with loads of twisted tape on them - as I'm still struggling with the tape gun) They also reported on pre-deployment struggles, repatriation, and training.
I'll check with CBC to see if a video is available for purchase if anyone is interested.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Soldiers Send Holiday Greetings

anadian "Soldiers Send Holiday Greetings" From Afghanistan
(I'll post as they become available)

To our soldiers...

"Merry Christmas!

We're thinking about you

and support you in all you do!"

Video 1:

Video 1 (v=Koi-BrZ JM4)
PRT Kandahar Afghanistan
November 2006

Video 2:

Video 2 (FRFK6W5YGN)

FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer and Area – Kandahar 2006


Video 3:

Video 3 (3UmoT2R-gX4)

FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer and Area – Kandahar 2006


Video 4:

Video 4 (mowfPKimDcA)

Kandahar Airfield November 2006


Video 5 (v=eSVcSai2BhQ)

FOB Ma'SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer & Area 2006
Video 5 (v=eSVcSai2BhQ)

FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer & Area 2006


Video 6 :
Video 6 (v=s61IxkZugV4)
FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer & Area 2006

Video 7:
Video 7 (v+dmwLT3F_ZLs)
FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer & Area 2006


Video 8 :

Video 8 (v=KXLuSCU9c)

FOB Ma’SumGhar FOB Zedelmyer & Area 2006

Video 9:

Video 9 (4FXYD8J2flA)
Kandahar Airfield Base 2006
Video 10

The Engineer Prayer was created for 2 Field Engineer Regiment by Major Hugh Macdonald, the unit's Padre. It goes as follows:
Almighty God, we pray thee to bless the Canadian Military Engineers. May our bridges always stand, and our charges never fail, our members be ever loyal, and our officers worthy of their loyalty. May we work diligently in all our purposes and be skilled in our trades; steadfast for Queen and Country everywhere. Amen.
We pray for you everyday here in Canada.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Continued Support for Our Troops

People are seeking ways to show their support for the brave men and women who serve with the Canadian Forces (CF) both at home and abroad.

Gore Mutual Insurance in Cambridge...

The staff at Gore Mutual Insurance are rallying around one of their co-workers (one of our Military Moms!) whose 23 year old son is currently serving overseas in Afghanistan.
She supports the troops as always by wearing her red "Support Our Troops" T-shirt every Friday. Well - the support is caught on. Her co-workers had asked to purchase the shirts and would wear them on Fridays as well. After being contacted by the Gore social commitee and being asked about selling Canadian Forces sanctioned shirts and other merchandise to fellow employees, after two days, sales amounted to more than $740 once the company decided to match the amount of the money raised! THANKYOU GORE! HUA!
You can FEEL the support at Gore. More on the Cambridge Times article.

All proceeds from the sales of "Support Our Troops" items are reinvested directly into morale and welfare programs for CF members and their families. (eg. kit bags for wounded soldiers while in hospital - and to offset the cost to dependents while visiting their loved ones)

She is part of a support group called Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan. The group promotes awareness in the community and provides support to boost the morale of deployed local military personnel, as well as offering support to those families who have loved ones overseas.

For more information about the support group for
Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan,

Elsewhere, in Cambridge...

The Real Estate Board of Cambridge continues to raise funds in support of Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Residents are encouraged to purchase yellow ribbon car magnets and yellow bracelets that read, "Support Our Troops". Magnets cost $4 and bracelets cost $2.
Proceeds from sales will be used to purchase items on the wish list of men and women overseas. These are items that are not supplied by the military. More information is available by contacting Val Brooks at 740-3690 or the MLS Board Office at 623-3660.
Brooks is also accepting letters of support for troops. To get there in time for Christmas, she must have all letters by next week.
"Way to go VAL! and Real Estate Board of Cambridge! "

In Kitchener...

Staff at Smithson Public School shows support.
November 4th, it was a sea of red as the support flowed through the halls of Smithson School. Staff wore red in support of the troops (as well, one of the soldiers had been a past student at their school). They had an opportunity to sign a card being sent to the troops! Since, the students have been seen wearing red - and when asked why? Their answer: "It's Red Friday of course- it's for our soldiers!" Smithson gets a BIG HUA!

In the Niagara Region...

That next trip to the corner store could mean a lot more than lottery tickets and a carton of milk. All 110 Avondale stores in Niagara region are asking customers to sign a message of support for Canada's 2,300 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Signatures and well-wishes will be collected until Dec. 6, when they will be taped together to form a giant, fold-out Christmas card Canada Post will ship overseas for free. When in the Niagara area, be sure to stop by an Avondale store and send your well wishes to the troops. Read further

Thank you Ann... and thank you Niagara Region!

In the Ottawa Area:
------- ---------

Canadian Tire in Ottawa and CFRA News Talk 580
As the movement in support of Canadian troops and their families continues to grow, Ottawa's News/Talk Radio station is teaming up with two leading businesses to spread the red wave even further. Starting Thursday, November 8th, all local Canadian Tire dealers will be selling red "support our troops" T-shirts with 100% of net proceeds going to the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre. The PMFRC exists to "promote and create an environment which fosters social and emotional well-being of our military families in order to support the mission of the Canadian Forces." From the outset, the two military wives who brought the wear red campaign to Petawawa have stressed the non-political nature of their initiative. "No matter what your views on any particular mission," says Lisa Miller, "wearing red is a simple way to say thank you to the soldiers and their families who give up so much in the service of their country." The stylish red T-shirts are high quality red 100% cotton, emblazoned with the message "Courage is being afraid, but going anyway. Support our troops" and were designed and produced by Ottawa's award-winning branding company Promographix. They first appeared at the huge Red Friday rally on Parliament Hill in September, and are now being made available to the general public for the first time. The "Support our Troops" shirts are in stores now for $10 (including tax) available in large and extra-large only at Ottawa area Canadian Tire dealers; however, if you would like to make a large quanitity order, 36 shirts or more, send an email to
Proceeds go to Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre.
Canadians can show their support by:

Wearing Red on Fridays: Wear something red on Fridays to show support for the CF and their families. (red "Support Our Troops" t-shirts available at:

Writing to the Troops: Let Canadian Forces members know they are appreciated by posting a message on the online message board at:

Purchasing Canadian Forces sanctioned merchandise (magnets, pins, shirts, caps, etc.) Canex

"If you or your company is doing something in support of the troops and families, let us know. Post your comments below and I'll publish it. Thank you!"