Newly formed foundation will deliver gifts to Canadian military families during the holiday season
TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - The holidays will be a little brighter for over 2,000 Canadian Armed Forces members and their families this year thanks to Together We Stand Foundation, a newly formed organization that honours Canadian military families.
Several military families are separated during the holiday season due to the deployment of Canadian troops around the world. Rick Ekstein, a Canadian businessperson and active member of the Jewish community, and his wife Lillian, recognized this situation and created Together We Stand to honour the sacrifices deployed military personnel and their families make each day.
Today, Together We Stand is proud to officially launch and announce that it is graciously supported by Honorary Patrons, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Canada's 22nd Prime Minister and The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Canada's 21st Prime Minister as well as several notable Canadians and many major Canadian brands. Together, they will honour deployed military personnel and their families who will be separated during the holiday season. In honour of their sacrifices, each family will receive a package of gift cards prior to the holidays through a collaboration with Support Our Troops.
Many leading Canadian companies have also come on board to support Together We Stand and its mission of recognizing Canadian military families including:
Cineplex Odeon Corporation
The Moez & Melissa Kassam Foundation
Park n' Fly
Recipe Unlimited Corporation
Sleep Country Canada
The Shoe Company
Weston Forest Products
In addition, Founding Donors of Together We Stand include Ron Bermbaum, Anita Ekstein, Peter Ekstein, Alan Greenberg, Joel Reitman, Jeff Rosenthal and Jim Spatz.
Together We Stand has also assembled an Honorary Council of iconic Canadians who have eagerly agreed to support the cause. They include:
David Amber – On-air Host, Hockey Night in Canada
Darrell Bricker – Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, Hon. Colonel, Queen's York Rangers
Brian Burke – Notable Hockey Executive, On-air Host
Paul Gross – Canadian Actor, Producer, Director
Col. Chris Hadfield OC MSC – Astronaut, Musician, Author
Lieutenant- General (Ret'd) Alain J. Parent, CMM, CD, Former Acting Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Hayley Wickenheiser – Olympic Gold Medalist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Assistant Director of Player Development, Toronto Maple Leafs
Canadians are encouraged to support our troops and their families though Together We Stand – please visit www.twsfoundation.ca for more details.
"When we made our donation in 2017, we hoped it would show Canadian Armed Forces families that Canadians value the sacrifices they make while bringing a smile to their faces during the holiday season. Little did we know that notes of thanks would pour in from all over the world and that our small gesture would be so well received. We are extremely grateful to all those that now support our newly formed foundation, Together We Stand. We hope the packages Canadian military families receive show that Canadians recognize their extraordinary efforts on our behalf."
Rick Ekstein, Founder, Together We Stand
"Our military families are the foundation of the Canadian Armed Forces and their success has a direct effect on our operational readiness. Organizations like Together We Stand provide important recognition of the tremendous sacrifice family members make so our personnel can serve Canada. I applaud the Ekstein family and sincerely thank everyone involved with Together We Stand for their work supporting our military members and their families."
General Jonathan H. Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff
About the Ekstein Family – Thornhill residents Rick and Lillian Ekstein are first generation Canadians who are proud to live in Canada. Rick is President and CEO of Phaze3 Management, CEO of Weston Forest Products and sits on various boards including the Queen's York Rangers Regimental Council. Coming from families that were victims of the Holocaust, they are passionate in their belief that Canada is the best country in the world and are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices members of the military make to preserve our freedom.
About Together We Stand Foundation – Together We Stand Foundation is a nationally registered charitable organization created by Rick and Lillian Ekstein. It was founded to honour Canadian troops and their families and to bring joy to families of deployed personnel during the holiday season. In 2017, the Eksteins donated $75,000 to military families to thank them for their sacrifices – with a goal of making a bigger impact in 2018 and beyond. Together We Stand is now an official charitable organization dedicated to this cause.
About Support Our Troops – Support Our Troops is an official qualified donee of Her Majesty in right of Canada for the Canadian Armed Forces community; managed and operated by Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.
It was established to meet the unique needs and special challenges faced by members of the Canadian Armed Forces community as a result of military service. It provides a platform to allow a range of supporters to show their care, compassion and support to serving members, veterans and their families.