Special delivery this holiday season
Support Our Troops

Special delivery this holiday season

This year, for the first time ever, a very special and unexpected delivery was made to families of Canadian military members currently deployed overseas — just in time for the holidays.

Thanks to a generous gift made through Support Our Troops, approximately 1,406 eligible families have received a $50 gift card and a heartfelt thank you message from the donor, Rick and Jillian Ekstein, a philanthropic couple from Thornhill, Ontario. 

In speaking to some of the families whose spouses are serving overseas, we realize the difficulty they and their children face being without their loved one during the holiday season,” said Rick Ekstein, businessperson and Jewish community leader.  “Lillian and I wanted to do something to say thank you to the families back home.  It is because of their support that their spouse is able to fulfil their duty to Canada abroad.  We wanted to make this small gesture to say thank you to the families and recognize their contribution to the success of our missions overseas.”

Gathered at a special holiday event at CFB Petawawa, families of deployed members who received the gift card were pleasantly surprised and expressed their gratitude. "We thank you so much for this gift.  It was unexpected.  It will help brighten the kids’ Christmas," said Jennifer King, a military spouse and mother, upon receiving her card.

For Carla MacNeil, this unanticipated gift will be put to good use. "Thank you for the generous donation, it will truly come in handy over the holidays as we will be travelling to the Maritimes to see our families.”

Our family was lucky to receive a gift card, and I cannot tell you how much it means to be remembered at this time of year,” shares Vanessa Winsor, a military spouse and mother of two.  “It’s these little things that make a deployment easier.” 

The Eksteins hope their spontaneous gesture will encourage other Canadians to donate to Support Our Troops’ Holiday Dinner Fund.  All the donated funds will benefit eligible military families over next year’s holiday season.
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