Medals for Children initiative looks to expand eastward
By Peter Mallet,
The Lookout Staff,
A non-profit that awards medals to children of deployed Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sailors will expand its reach to Atlantic Canada by the end of this year.
Medals for Children, an initiative launched in 2021 by Earl Phillips of Grande Prairie, Alta., will award medals to children of parents deployed aboard Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) vessels HMCS Fredericton and HMCS Montreal.
“Many of these children don’t know a life any different than Mom or Dad being away for long periods of time and all the challenges that creates,” Phillips said. “We want to see this program flourish so we can honour them.”
Phillips said the medals are a way to honour the children’s service and sacrifice during deployments. His daughter, Lieutenant (Navy) Anne Day of HMCS Montreal, is a military parent with three children. Phillips himself is employed by the Regional Cadet Support Unit (RCSU) Northwest.
Phillips said the success of the medals program so far is based on its popularity with recipients. Proof of this played out when dozens of children with parents aboard HMCS Winnipeg and HMCS Vancouver were reunited with their parents and loved ones at their recent homecoming in Esquimalt before the holidays. Many children were delighted to receive the medals from their mothers and fathers, supplied by Phillips through the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). Some of the medals were presented by The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, and Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander Royal Canadian Navy.
The front of each blue and bronze medal features a child’s hand reaching toward the hands of an adult sailor, and the reverse side features the ship’s name and deployment dates. It also includes a red and white ribbon. There are also plans to add bars to the awards system, with red-coloured bars affixed to a child’s medal following each deployment.
Phillips’ first batch of medals for HMCS Winnipeg’s 2021 deployment was paid for through out-of-pocket expenses to produce and engrave the medals. Phillips encourages anyone interested in contributing to connect with him at MedalsforChildren@gmail.com.