A tearful yet inspirational event, Heart and Home Heroes brought together the Petawawa military community for an evening of honouring and celebrating military families.
After more than a year on high readiness, the Heart and Home Heroes event, hosted by the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre, was dedicated to highlighting what families have been through to “keep the home fires burning.”
“It was just a really great event because it was all about them (families) and we’re really honoured to be able to have that opportunity to recognize them,” said Claudia Beswick, executive director of the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre and military spouse.
The evening of June 14 was dedicated to honouring family members and help them step out of the background and into the spotlight. To bring this theme to life, the evening consisted of introductory speeches from the garrison commander and brigade commander that recognized family support.
“It really reflects the importance they feel families play in supporting the members,” said Beswick, who made a special point to invite the chain of command.
Other guest speakers like author and one of the founding board members of the PMFRC Diane Collier. Maj. Michael Allen, the local padre, was also a guest speaker of the evening. He spoke about community support and the power of spouses banding together.
Additionally, to make the families feel really special, the PMFRC welcomed nominations of anyone who stepped up to help the family unit during their loved ones’ deployment. The goal was to put a voice to the families’ stories and spotlight them.
Specifically, these nominations are for five categories: most heartfelt story, most supportive person, funniest story, overcome challenges, and best advice.
An impartial committee voted on the stories and chose a winner.
According to Beswick, many of the spouses were surprised that they were even nominated because to them, it is their everyday life.
“When we were able to draw attention to the special things they do to keep the home fires burning it was just a really great honour to actually see all those faces appreciate being recognized,” commented the Executive Director.
The winner of each story was awarded a special prize.
“There’s no manual to tell how to deal with the crazy obstacles that come along the way. Whether it’s funny, sad, scary they just do it, and I don’t think they often take the time to appreciate everything they’ve come through at the end of a deployment,” said Beswick.