To our families, a “toast of the day” from HMCS Winnipeg

Navy News / October 30, 2015

By Sub-Lieutenant Jamie Tobin

“To our families” is the naval toast of the day for Saturday, but for the crew of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg, this toast is significant every single day of its long deployment.

In the navy, there is a toast for each day of the week. Normally these toasts are used at special occasions and mess dinners, but they may be used as a symbolic gesture as well.

“In late October we surpassed the half-way mark of our deployment, which is an important milestone for us in Winnipeg and for our loved ones in Canada,” said Commander Pascal Belhumeur, the Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg. “For the past four-and-a-half months, this team has worked hard every single day and our families are working just as hard or harder to keep our lives sailing on a steady course back home.”

The ship departed Esquimalt, B.C., on June 15, 2015, with approximately 250 sailors, soldiers and air force personnel for Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance measures in Europe. Families accepted the reality that their loved ones would be deployed for up to nine months.

Back in Esquimalt, the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) supports those with  deployed loved ones. This is  integral to the success of Winnipeg’s mission.

“On behalf of our ship’s company, I would like to thank the Military Family Resource Centre for doing everything in their power to help out our families,” said Commander Belhumeur. “They treat our families like their own and it is comforting to know that they are always there to help.”

The MFRC hosts monthly update briefs that are delivered by the Commanding Officer. These are followed by video teleconferencing sessions that enable members to speak with their loved ones face to face. The MFRC also hosts family-oriented events and activities, and offers programs and services for the families of deployed members.

As the members of HMCS Winnipeg move into the second half of the deployment, the Commanding Officer offers the following toast: “Bravo Zulu to the rest of our Winnipeg family back in Canada. Our success would not be possible without your ongoing support.”