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WARMINGTON: Supporting the families of military aiding during COVID

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are shown at Residence Villa Val des Arbres a long-term care home in Laval, Que., Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are shown at Residence Villa Val des Arbres a long-term care home in Laval, Que., Sunday, April 19, 2020.

The number of military personnel infected by COVID-19 in Operation Laser is now at 39.

They are always prepared to go to the most dangerous places and put their lives on the line.

Behind that are their families and once again, Together We Stand is there for them.

“Families are a big part of all of it,” said the charity’s CEO Rick Seymour.

They might as well be wearing the uniform too. On most missions, they deal with the fallout of war-time. Post-traumatic stress, tending to wounded warriors, dealing with death and depression and economic concerns.

This time the same enemy that has caught up with their loved ones can penetrate their homes and get them, too.

“As of May 27, the breakdown of COVID-19 cases within the CAF population employed on Operation LASER working in LTCFs in Quebec and Ontario is as follows,” the Canadian Armed Forces said Friday. “Ontario, 15 tested positive. Quebec, 24 tested positive.”

Who knows how many family members might be added to that list but not counted as part of the front lines. But there is little more stress than having COVID-19 in your house. There’s nothing easy about isolating and the worry is off the charts.

“The importance of military involvement couldn’t have been more highlighted after seeing disturbing reports came out about the failures of long-term health-care facilities across Ontario,” said Seymour. “We want these families who have been impacted directly by COVID-related deployments to be acknowledged and thanked for their service.”

They deserve it. Care packages are being prepared — similar to what they have done before for service members deployed overseas. The care packages, valued at $1.7 million and delivered to 7,000 military families, in the past have included gift cards for restaurants, stores, online services, movies and, of course, groceries.

While it is a token of appreciation, it is also meant to help people at a time when they need it.

This amazing Together We Stand initiative was started by Rick and Lillian Ekstein “to bring military families to the forefront, highlighting the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, and to help all Canadians understand the other side of our military.”

In the past, Together We Stand had a Military Family Appreciation Day and worked “closely with Members of Parliament from every federal political party” to establish “a nationally recognized day for Canadian military families through the introduction and passage of a unanimous consent motion in the House of Commons” which will happen on the third Friday of each September.

Now they want to do it again. But they need your help.

“We are looking to raise $200,000 for this initiative with all funds going towards families affected by deployments during COVID-19,” said Seymour.

If you want to help, you can learn more at TWSfoundation.ca or on their Facebook page, TWSFoundationCA .

“Write a note of thanks or contribute financially in any denomination. Tax receipts for donations that qualify are available,” Seymour said, adding “100% of contributions will go directly to our Canadian Military Families across Canada.”

This is an important project, especially when you think about how at risk the military people are in this. Full support to the men and women who work in health care in general who have been outstanding in this pandemic. And now a little morale boost from the public for our soldiers, airmen and women, naval personnel — all of who have contributed.

“The military supports our country when we need it most. Their families support them when they are away from home protecting us,” said Seymour. “They aren’t asking for this, but we believe it’s what they deserve. We believe they should be recognized for their contributions. We want them to know that we stand with them.”

We stand with, and pray for, the 39 who have contracted the coronavirus, all of the others who could contract it, and, of course, their family members at great risk, too.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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