Representing the Community with Strategic Leadership
Message from the Chair:
Welcome to July!
July brings us the true summer, and the riot of flowers in bloom that help us see brightness and beauty around us. As we know, flowers can have multiple representations and, in Victorian times, established their own language of meanings.
The Military Child has often been linked to a Dandelion. Dandelions put down roots almost anywhere, and are almost impossible to destroy. An unpretentious plant, yet pretty, the Dandelion is a survivor in a broad range of climates. Military children, like Dandelions, bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture and soil of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures. What a beautiful consideration of a plant we often think of as an annoying weed!
I suggest to you that military families can also be represented by a flower – the Sunflower.
While the yellow Sunflower echoes the yellow ribbon of military support, Sunflowers can actually be found in many colours - including vibrant purples and reds. Like military families who come in multiple permutations, Sunflowers are not limited to one make-up, there are many varieties and they are all beautiful. There are over 70 species of Sunflowers with varying shapes, colours and sizes - incredibly diverse and all stunning and cheerful.
Sunflowers are actually made up of thousands of tiny flowers. Like the military community, Sunflowers look like one flower, but the iconic yellow petals and fuzzy brown centres are actually individual flowers themselves! As many as 2,000 can make up the classic Sunflower bloom. Much like the military community of families – we are small, individual groups, but we make up a wonderful, strong whole when we band together.
Sunflowers are most famous for their heliotropism – the fact that they turn their faces with the sun. The flower buds and young blossoms face east in the morning, and follow the progression of the sun across the sky during the day. Like Sunflowers, we turn our faces and our lives and our purposes with our “suns”, our soldiers, as needed day by day. We soak up the energies from the sun and radiate that back to allow our soldiers to flourish, grow, and strengthen each day. We provide energy in the form our nourishment and vibrancy – mirroring the sun.
Sunflowers need a lot of rays and a lot of room. Like us, Sunflowers bloom best when they have six to eight hours of sun a day. But, when the sun is hidden, or on cloudy days, Sunflowers still have reserves of sunshine from which to call on, and still follow the progression from east to west each day, soaking up what amounts of sun they can find. In this way, they are always seeking the brightness and best in the situation, in the same way military families are always looking for the positives. We maintain our routines, even through trying or darker times in our lives. At night, Sunflowers turn back to the east to prepare for the next day of followership. So too do we turn each night, ready to face and follow what the day has in store for us.
Sunflowers have a history of healing, medicine, and absorbing toxins! In Mexico, the flowers were thought to sooth pain, and in Japan, millions of flowers were planted to assist with absorbing air toxins. Similarly, military families act as healers and absorbers of stress and pain. We band together to bring healing, love, and strength to our community and to our soldiers.
Sunflowers grow tall, stalwart, and strong. The largest Sunflower on record grew to an astonishing 30 feet high, and over 1 inch wide! Generally, plants can grow up for 3 metres (10 feet) tall. They are very fast growing plants – in the right conditions, they can grow 8 feet tall in six months. In the same way, Military families grow strong, upright, and hardy. We do our growing quickly, by necessity, and grow to be a strong support for the other flowers in our midst. Sunflowers are perennials - confident and strong, they are long-living.
Sunflowers are incredibly resilient, With their moving each day, they bend and sway with nature, but rarely break - their strong roots and stalks keep them rooted strongly in the soil and ready to move each day. Wilted or broken Sunflowers have been known to keep moving their faces toward the sun, even if it is a herculean effort. If a stalk breaks, even if one tiny thread is left tethering the flower, that thread will pull nourishment from the soil and sun, and bring it to the blossom, doing its very best to keep the flower alive and beautiful.
Few flowers can lift someone’s spirits like a Sunflower. They are bright, cheery, warm and inviting. Their petals are known as rays – in the same way that military families are rays – reaching out, inviting, and shining light on everyone else in their proximity.
In the Victorian tradition, Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. How apt. These are all traits that the military family, too, espouses and exemplifies. In religious tradition, the Sunflower is a symbol of faith to something bigger and brighter than themselves. The Sunflower has long been one of my favourite flowers, and I am recognizing now why – because I see myself reflected in its daily growth and journey. Because our community echoes its resilient diversity.
So, I invite you to consider yourself a Sunflower. On days when you may be struggling, or times seem difficult, I encourage you to remember that you are a bright, stalwart, upright beautiful blossom, following the warmth and hope of the sun each day. You reflect so many of the positive characteristics of nature, and, as you bask in the glow of the sun, you radiate that brightness to others.
Confident. Capable. Resilient.
Chair of the Board of Directors
What We Do
The Toronto MFRC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, with a mandate of majority military family member representation, which reports through a governance and oversight structure to the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services Branch (CFMWS) through Military Family Services (MFS).
Board members are elected by the Community. We assess local needs, in order to avoid duplication of community services and resources, while determining priorities, providing leadership, and ensuring the mandated delivery of the national Military Family Services Program. The Board of Directors provides governance and oversight through the lens of proper support for our families, helping the Executive Director in setting strategic direction and guiding implementation of activities and programming.
Please note that the Board is presently at capacity with all Executive and Director spaces filled.
However, we still welcome new members who may wish to fulfil non-Director Associate roles by sitting on committees. Are you a passionate advocate for military and veteran families? Do you want to help the TMFRC improve our offerings and meet our goals? Consider joining one of these Committees.
We meet the third Wednesday of each month, at 6:00 pm, at the Centre.
Unable to attend in person? We can accommodate you via phone/web!
Interested members may email the Board Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair: Marsali Federico
Vice Chair: Emily Callaghan
Treasurer: Aaron Windsor
Secretary: Simon Wells
Executive Director, Toronto MFRC
Commanding Officer's Representative, representing the CO, 4 CDSG Personnel Support Services
Captain Kevin Brady, 4th Canadian Division Support Group Garrison Toronto