By Commander Andre F.N. Savard, Commanding Officer of Personnel Support Services (Ottawa-Gatineau) –
In collaboration with the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and the continued partnership with the Canadian Defence Community Banking (CDCB) Program and the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS), the Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) (CFSG[O-G]) was honoured to receive a generous financial contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was aimed to help enhance local morale and welfare services by providing immediate financial relief to local Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families.
On 17 July 2020, BMO Regional Vice Presidents (VPs) for the National Capital Region, Mr. Riccardo Campagna, Regional VP Ottawa West & Ottawa Valley and Mr. Omar Abouzaher, Regional VP Ottawa East Market/Western Quebec, took part in a presentation ceremony at National Defence Headquarters (Carling) in Ottawa, Ontario. The Commander CFSG(O-G), Captain (Navy) Daniel Bouchard, marked this special occasion by also recognizing the many benefits and continued support afforded by BMO to local CAF leadership, members and their families over the past 10 years. This particular contribution targeted military families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, where gift cards were distributed by local Base officials for essential grocery products, successfully alleviating some of the stressors and financial challenges faced by the military community.
“It was an easy decision for us,” said VPs Campagna and Abouzaher. “To hear that those same military families we meet every year at Family Appreciation Days face hardship because of the financial implications of living during the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s something we couldn’t let happen. As the official bank of the Canadian defence community, we are fortunate to be in a position where we’re able to have and maintain a partnership with the local Base that supports our sailors, soldiers, and aviators in practical, tangible ways and makes a difference in their everyday lives.”
“As the official bank of the Canadian Armed Forces, BMO the Bank of Montreal has the privilege of always being there to support our troops and their families during these difficult times.”
Since then, this initiative has been facilitated through the direct support and efforts by staff within Personal Support Programs (PSP) and Chaplain Services under the Personnel Support Services (Ottawa-Gatineau) (PSS[O-G]) and the Helping Professionals network. The wide range of services provided to assist the local military community span from health promotion; recreation; military housing; crisis intervention; support and counselling; deployment support; moral and ethical dilemmas; referrals to professional care providers such as social workers, psychologists or medical personnel; and often includes timely calls and visits by CAF spiritual staff to those who are dealing with difficult situations and in need of emergency relief.
PSS(O-G) takes great pride and privilege in delivering professional services in support of the largest Base in Canada, serving over 9,300 CAF members and their military families across the National Capital Region (NCR). The continued assistance and working partnership built with BMO leadership greatly enables our ability to deliver accessible, relevant, and responsive attention to local CAF members and their families. The BMO contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic is just another example of their sincere commitment and compassion to serve those who serve and to make a difference in the local community.
Extending over a decade, BMO has served as the official bank and exclusive provider of banking services under the CDCB Program. Over the years, they have become one of the main supporters of the local Base’s signature events such as the annual Defence Community Family Appreciation Days, holiday concerts, and many CAF sporting events.
This longstanding partnership and regional support are genuinely recognized and appreciated both by the CAF leadership and the military community we support. A special thank you to the personal commitment of both Mr. Campagna and Mr. Abouzaher for their utmost dedication and support to the welfare of the military community within the NCR.
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