This holiday season, members of the Tech Services Unit at CFB Borden gave back to the community through the Holiday with a Hero event, put on by the United Way and Simcoe Muskoka Family Connections, a local charity that supports families in challenging situations.
The South Barrie Walmart location opened an hour early for the special event, where 80 kids picked the military or first responder hero to be their partner for the day. Together, the hero helped their child pick out items on their shopping list for their families, along with one special gift for themselves. After the shopping was complete, heroes travelled with their new buddy to the Innisfil YMCA to help gift wrap and enjoy a pancake breakfast and other activities.
Rosi Martin, Relationship Manager of Events and Engagement with the United way said the second annual even is about creating great memories for kids that are living in challenging family situations, and helping them experience the joy of giving as they find gifts for their family members.
“[I]t’s also about relationship building with people in uniform and tearing down some of those barriers,” said Martin.
Corporal (Cpl) Danica Jones from Tech Services was on deck as a military hero for the day. It was the first time she’s done anything like this, and the experience was a meaningful one.
“I don’t know if the kids really know how much of a [military] presence there is here in the area,” said Cpl Jones, who herself is newer to the area. Originally from British Columbia, she was posted to CFB Borden in 2021 and appreciated the opportunity the event provided to put a face to the military uniform. “It’s nice to connect with the community.”
Brian Shelley, United Way Simcoe Muskoka Chief Executive and Philanthropy Officer, said the community support received for the event has been overwhelming.
“I think that all of our heroes, whether they’re military or police, or firefighters, or paramedics, they are here to support our community, and this is just a different way that they can support some of our community’s most vulnerable young people,” Shelley said.
By: Emily Nakeff, Editor