Business

Special Christmas ornament helps military families

Reservist Chris Poulton, his wife Sherrilynn and their son Liam check out a new ornament which is being sold at Sears stores to raise money for military families readjusting to day-to-day civilian life. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Reservist Chris Poulton, his wife Sherrilynn and their son Liam check out a new ornament which is being sold at Sears stores to raise money for military families readjusting to day-to-day civilian life.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

The first few times Sherrilynn Poulton went driving with her husband Chris after he returned from a year-long tour of duty with the Canadian military in Afghanistan, she kept her right foot poised over a phantom brake pedal in the car's passenger side. After all, Western rules of the road don't apply in a war zone and there was no telling what bad habits Chris picked up dodging potholes and land mines on dusty goat tracks.

That's just one of the myriad adjustments military families face when a loved one returns from active duty.

To help ease that transition, Sears Canada has launched a special Christmas ornament in support of Canada's military community and their families. All of the proceeds from sales of the ornament at the department store's 118 Canadian outlets go to the Military Families Fund which helps soldiers and their loved ones with rehabilitation, educational and financial assistance.

"We are pleased to support the Military Families Fund which provides ongoing assistance to our troops and their families," said Lisa Phelan, the manager of the Sears store at Brentwood Town Centre, where the ornament was unveiled on Tuesday.

It's not easy for soldiers to tend to the mundane tasks of civilian life when they've been obeying orders, speaking military jargon and just trying to stay alive for the past 12 months, said Nancy Szastkiw, a family liaison officer with the BC Military Family Resource Centre.

After living every day in fatigues, it can be tough to shop for regular street clothes. Even telling time on a 12-hour clock rather than the military's 24-hour clock can be a challenge.

It's especially difficult in the first month after a soldier's return, said Szastkiw. "All of them have symptoms like sleep disorders, intestinal disorders. We ask people not to panic."

While technology made the year-long absence of Sherrilynn Poulton's husband less arduous, as they were able to stay in touch with daily video chats over Skype, having him back in the house was a bit of a jolt. She and their nine-year old son Liam had developed their own routine.

"Life changes when he comes home," said Sherrilynn, whose family were special guests at the ornament's launch. "The challenges change day to day. There's a cultural shock, we have to be patient getting readjusted."

But after missing Chris last Christmas as he began his tour, she said she's thrilled to be able to celebrate the holiday with him at home this year. Along with a special new ornament on their tree.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

LNG tax drops in softer gas market
 
Province legislates rates for container truckers
 
Lower loonie to crimp cross-border shopping
Top 10 tips for strata home buyers
 
VIDEO: Dalai Lama met by admirers, protestors, and Selena Gomez during Vancouver visit
 
NEB rules in favour of Kinder Morgan
Homes without compromise at Harrison Highlands
 
Private power an alternative to Site C
 
Empty warehouse in Chilliwack prompts request for donations

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 24 edition online now. Browse the archives.