Gala Raises More Than $65,000 to Strengthen Local Military Families
2014 Event Marks 10th Anniversary of the Invisible Ribbon Gala
TRENTON, ON — Several hundred people participated in the 10th annual Invisible Ribbon Gala, supporting and attending the event on May 3 that raised more than $65,000 for programs and services that help local military families through the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC).
“Every family has its own story,” said guest speaker Kim Mills, an army spouse and the blogger behind SheIsFierce.net. Mills says she once heard a spouse describe soldiers, like her husband, perfectly: “Being a soldier isn’t what he does, it’s who he is. It’s part of who we are as a military family.”
“I had a neighbour who’d moved 8 times in 11 years; she moved in and had her house arranged within 48 hours! But she had no experience with deployments — something I know very well,” she explained. “We all have areas where we’ve learned to be stronger. And sometimes, we need to admit that we need help.”
Asking for help from people who aren’t your close family and friends can be a challenge, but the military lifestyle often moves you away from familiar faces; Tamara Kleinschmidt, interim executive director of the Trenton MFRC, says that’s where the Centre steps up.
“We provide a variety of programs, support and services that help make everyday life easier for military families, from employment services to emergency and respite childcare,” said Kleinschmidt. “This wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support we get from the Quinte West and Belleville communities.”
Mills has become a contact point for many Canadian Forces spouses through her blog, which she started as a personal project five years ago. Launched to help her share a story she wrote about her experiences for a media profile, she “realized there were more strangers reading it than people I knew” and SheIsFierce took root.
“There aren’t a lot of Canadian spouses blogging about what it’s like to be a military spouse, and I think it’s cool how I’ve been able to connect with so many people,” she says.
Mills made a video with her son to celebrate the strength of military kids — a project that drew attention from people across the country. “My son wanted to make the video for school last year; there aren’t a lot of military kids in his school. It can be hard for other kids to understand what our kids go through, or why mom or dad goes away so often.”
“Over the past year, I’ve received so many photos from families who wanted to be part of the video project: Air Force, Army, Navy. People who are kids now, and even photos from adults who grew up as military brats. People are proud of those photos; they’re proud of who they are.”