My first introduction to the MFRC was well into my military spouse career. I had already experienced one tour, UNIKOM (United Nations International Kuwait Observer Mission), where 1CER deployed to Kuwait. As spouses we were somewhat left to fend for ourselves. There were no MRFCs. We were given a desk, chair and phone in an office at the old 1 Combat Engineer Regiment in Chilliwack B.C. We volunteered to man the phone in case a spouse was experiencing a problem, needed help or wanted support.
The troops left behind supported us the best they could and since many military families don’t live near family they often turn to the experience, wisdom and fortitude of more experienced military wives. Being only 20 at the time, I remember getting into a jam and having an “experienced” wife stand up and go to bat for me. Thank you Maggie Stokes.
Flash forward to 1996 as I arrive in Edmonton, left to fend for myself. With my five week-old son and my three-year old daughter in tow, I had just moved from my beloved British Columbia and headed to the land of milk and honey and the robust times of the Klein years. My husband spent three weeks with us before he headed off on course.
Unsure where to go for help, I showed up at the Edmonton MFRC. There I found friends, work and the opportunity to explore and perform talents I didn’t realize I had through volunteering. This led me to the local college where I enrolled in the journalism program in hopes of going into public relations. The public relations course didn’t happen due to a posting, but writing has served me well.
Yes, MFRCs can be frustrating. I cannot tell you the number of rants my family and friends have heard or the times they have witnessed me banging my head on my desk or the wall due to frustration. But here is what I know – MFRCs are ours. They are there to serve, assist and connect military families.
When military families didn’t have them, navigating through the military lifestyle maze wasn’t easy. Through the years they have made a difference in my life. They have helped me integrate into a community and find my calling. Can they be better? I don’t know; that is up to the military community they support.
I know there have been great MFRCs and not so great – but the only way they are going to improve, change, or evolve is through your input. I have met a lot of passionate, dedicated people working hard behind the scenes to ensure MFRCs are providing the services needed to support the military community they serve.
If you are feeling lonely, lost or looking for something to do I recommend hooking up with your MFRC. I realize there might be something you feel they could do better and maybe it’s you who can fill that void.