Dear friends & fellow supporters,
Sometimes, you see the very best in people in response to the very worst of tragedies.
Last Wednesday, after the tragic murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and the attack on our Parliament -- just one day after the brutal attack and murder of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec -- we were just like every other Canadian we knew. We felt sad, powerless, and angry.
We found ourselves glued to our smartphones and screens, watching a massive outpouring of emotional content being shared on Facebook, Twitter and media stories.
With a few tweets back and forth, Chad (sitting in his living in room in Toronto) and Kaz (in the back of an Uber car in San Francisco), a fund was created. Our team quickly grew to include friends and colleagues from all across Canada.
Within 10 hours, our $10,000 goal was achieved, and more than a dozen people had fanned out to create graphics, start a social media campaign, talk to their colleagues and engage the mainstream media. Within 18 hours, our friend Gary Clement from TD Bank, before anyone asked, blew our original goal out of the water by organizing TD, Scotiabank, CIBC and RBC for a combined $80,000 donation. Canada’s four best banks stepped up with massive donations that started a momentum we never dreamed of.
Everyone we reached out to had a shared goal: to show these families that a whole nation grieved with them. Their loved ones didn’t die in vain: they died for us, and they will never, ever be forgotten.
Canada’s foremost charity dedicated to helping veterans and their families, True Patriot Love (TPL) Foundation, stepped up and agreed to be our implementing partner, handling complicated financial, legal and other issues. TPL’s Managing Director, Bronwen Evans, has been there for the regiments and the families throughout. Her leadership has helped us guarantee with absolute confidence that 100% of every dollar raised will reach the families.
Some say that Canadians are apathetic, that online activism is just a bunch of clicks and wasted time. Our answer is simple: in just 7 days, Canadians raised $700,000 for two families whose loved ones were murdered wearing our country’s uniform. Individuals, religious groups, associations, unions and companies donated as little as $1 and as much as $50,000.
We cannot thank you enough for donating, sharing and stepping up so that all of our grief, shock and sadness could be turned into a living, lasting memorial for these two families.
Our week long campaign is just the beginning. We hope that our fund creates a snowball effect of support of our military families. In the days and weeks ahead, please direct your thoughts, volunteerism and donations to the True Patriot Love Foundation. They honour the sacrifice of members of the Canadian Armed Forces in peace and conflict, helping our real-life heroes and their families.
We stand on guard for them as they did for us. We honour them.
The “Stand On Guard Fund” Committee
Laryssa Waler Hetmanczuk