Miramichi’s Brenda Daigle received a very special thank you on Thursday after sending care packages to Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan for six years.
Sgt. Martin Veilleux and Deborah Lyons, the Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, travelled to the northern New Brunswick city to present Daigle the final Canadian flag to fly over the armed forces base in Afghanistan.
Lyons, who is from Miramichi, described how Veilleux wanted to join her on the trip to personally thank Daigle for six years of care packages for troops serving overseas
“When [Veilleux] was serving in Afghanistan this past Christmas, he received a Christmas box from people on the Miramichi and so he came here today to say thank you to them and to present them with a Canadian flag that flew at Camp Phoenix,” she said.
Daigle started sending the care packages over when her son was serving in the Arabian Sea.
“When my son was deployed, he was fighting pirates in the Gulf of Aden and I was sending parcels to him and he had said that not everybody in his unit were receiving parcels,” she said.
“So I upped the ante and sent 12 more of everything that I was sending.”
It didn’t take long for Daigle to begin expanding the project even further. But in order to keep the momentum going, Daigle had to recruit others from the community to help with the care package project.
And while she may be the focus on this day, she said she was just the catalyst in the community.
“I have made a best friend, Reg Pollock, which is our veteran from Miramichi and I recruited him one day. I saw him at the grocery store. I said 'I know who you are and I really want to meet you and hope that I can entice you to help me with the shoebox campaign,’” she recalled.
Pollock said he was an easy sell because he wanted to help out others who were stationed overseas.
Pollock had served in Germany and Cyprus, and he remembered receiving care packages from family when he was away from home.
He said that helping with this campaign was the least he could do for Canada’s military.
“It's to keep the morale up, keep the troops happy. And they're doing a fantastic job over there,” he said.
“So my kudos to them and I just wish I was there with them.”
The flag will not be staying in a drawer.
Daigle said she plans to tour the Canadian flag around to different Miramichi schools that helped with the care package campaign.
She said she doesn't know where the flag will end its journey, but she wants it displayed somewhere so the whole community can see the impact that the care packages sent from Miramichi had on the military.