British Columbians sending holiday greetings to Canadian troops overseas

    VANCOUVER, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - Thousands of Canadian soldiers serving overseas
will be away from their families this Holiday season. Sears Canada, in
cooperation with the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA), is
calling on British Columbians to show their support for the troops by signing
one of 22 giant 4'x5' Christmas cards touring Sears stores beginning today
through December 24th.
    "We have been overwhelmed with support from our customers and associates
for this initiative," said Dene Rogers, President and CEO, Sears Canada. "It's
very difficult to be away from home during the Holidays, as is the case for
the thousands of Canada's military personnel serving overseas. This is our
small way of helping Canadians reach out to support the troops and their
    The Christmas card tour was launched in Quebec City in early November, in
honour of the large contingent of soldiers who recently left from that region.
The first three cards loaded with signatures were then shipped from
CFB Trenton, ON and unveiled for soldiers in Afghanistan at a special event at
the Canadian military base in Afghanistan on November 30.
    This will be a poignant holiday season for more than 160 families in BC,
who will have a loved one deployed to Afghanistan in January 2008.
    Because Mainland BC does not have a visible base, military personnel and
their families live integrated within civilian communities. More times than
not, they are living in an area without family or other support systems
nearby, which makes the absence of a loved-one more difficult.
    "As a military spouse myself, whose husband has been deployed over the
holidays, I can tell you there is a real sense of pride in seeing the messages
and well-wishes sent to the troops," says Barbara Lapointe, Chair, Mainland BC
Military Family Resource Centre. "In recognizing and supporting the troops,
you are telling these families they are welcome in their civilian
    In Vancouver the card will stay up at the Sears on Robson store through
Christmas. Other cards will tour Sears stores in the lower mainland, with
stops in Burnaby, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam,
Chilliwack and Abbotsford. Cards will also tour Sears stores in Victoria,
Comox, Nanaimo, and Kamloops during December.
    In addition to the cards, Operation Wish also allows Canadian troops
stationed abroad to place a customized order from the Sears Wish Book online.
Copies of the catalogue were sent to Canadian soldiers, sailors and air force
personnel posted to operational missions in Afghanistan, Africa, the Balkans,
the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Gulf region, as
well as those serving on HMCS Charlottetown.

    The CFPSA develops and delivers morale and welfare programs, activities
and services to members of the CF and their families, in Canada and overseas.
These activities include sports and recreation, health and fitness, family
services, retail operations, financial services and, mess management. In
addition, the CFPSA deploys approximately 70 civilian personnel per six-month
rotation to Afghanistan to conduct morale and welfare programs.

    Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 196 corporate
stores, 179 dealer stores, 61 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue
merchandise pick-up locations, 106 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home
maintenance, repair and installation network. The Company also publishes
Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping
online at

For further information:

For further information: Eliana Cugini, Sears Canada, (416) 941-4426,; Patricia Robitaille, PR Communications Inc., (604) 873-0080,

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