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We stand with military families who Stand on Guard for Thee.

When the first familiar chords of “O Canada” play at schools, hockey games, and other events, Canadians stand with pride in honour of their country.  But it’s our country’s 639,000 Veterans and 65,000 current Canadian Armed Forces members and their families who *actually* Stand on Guard for each and every one of us.

Rogers proudly supports True Patriot Love Foundation,  Canada’s main national charity that provides funding to organizations supporting active servicemember, Veterans, and their families, including support for 32 Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) located on Canadian Armed Forces bases across the country.  The community-based programs that True Patriot Love funds address the unique challenges resulting from military service, such as mental health, physical rehabilitation, transitioning to civilian life, and the special needs of children – with each program tailored to the specific community it serves.  As we mark Remembrance Day this week, we asked Tamara Kleinschmidt, Executive Director of the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre what life is like for Canadian military families and how we can support those who serve.

When a Canadian serves, it’s a family affair.  What does life look like for our military families?  

Canadian military families, of which I proudly count myself as one, live in a unique space amongst their fellow Canadians.  This resilient, humble group chooses to place Canada as a priority.  They move frequently, experience regular separations and frequently have a loved one at risk.  No other occupation in Canada experiences these three factors at the same level as military families do.

What would civilians be surprised to know?

One of the things I find most fascinating that the Canadian civilian population does not know is that military families do not receive medical care from the military.  Each time a military family moves they must re-establish their access to primary care in the location they are in.  Research is emerging which shows the challenge to access primary healthcare truly puts military families at a disadvantage when compared to their civilian counterparts.  Imagine struggling to find a family physician as so many Canadians do only to lose that access over and over again with each move.

Rogers Community Grants and Scholarships through True Patriot Love is one way to strengthen and support our military community.   What programs at MFRC Trenton most inspire you?  What is it like to make a real and meaningful difference for these families who have given Canadians so much?

I love going to work every day primarily because I work in a not-for-profit organization that exists only to serve and support military families.  All programming is defined by our community which means we are able respond quickly as new needs arise. 

The programs which inspire me are those that support the most challenged in our community: the special needs and inclusion program, the veteran family program and our mental health program.  All make a positive contribution to military and veteran families on a daily basis.

Each member of the Trenton MFRC team has an emotional connection to the families we serve, it drives each of us in our work.  When we have the opportunity to see the impact of our work it energizes and inspires us. 

On November 11, we collectively pause to remember, but how can Canadians best support our military members and their families every day? 

Canadian military members and their families are, in my experience, a humble, self-reliant group.  They take a great deal of pride in serving Canada.  Canadians can best support by welcoming military families into their communities, supporting employment for regularly relocating family members and continued support to programs that are making a difference.  It doesn’t just take a village to support military families, it takes a country.

Since 2017, Rogers has provided True Patriot Love with $100,000 in scholarships to 15 youth from Military families, and $100,000 in Ted Rogers Community Grants to programs that support youth leadership at Military Family Resource Centres across the country.

“We are truly grateful to Rogers for standing with us to provide much-needed support to youth from military families,” said Nick Booth, CEO of True Patriot Love Foundation. “The pandemic can magnify pre-existing challenges for those in the military and their loved ones, and now more than ever we need to lean in to help.  Organizations like Rogers make this possible right now along with offering longer term help for military youth to fulfil their life potential.”

To learn more about True Patriot Love or donate, visit truepatriotlove.com.

Canadians can also honour our veterans this week by supporting The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign.  Visit mypoppy.ca to donate and receive a digital poppy that can be personalized and dedicated to honour a friend or family member who has served. Then post your digital poppy across your social media platforms to show your support for our veterans, past and present.

Supporting Canadian military families through community grants and scholarships.

One of the ways Rogers is helping to make a better Canada possible.