Major MIchael Lemire with children in Afghanistan during his deployment there with the Canadian Armed Forces several years ago. In addition to their military role

Service impacts families at home and abroad

For Major Michael Lemire, a career military officer, there really is no place like home.

For Major Michael Lemire, a career military officer, there really is no place like home.

His parents, Joe and Sharon Lemire of Penticton couldn’t agree more.

They also know that waiting can be the hardest part for military families especially those deployed to combat zones.

Michael, 51, has spent much of his armed forces career overseas, including postings in war-torn Bosnia and Afghanistan.

“I would think at times, what if? What if that knock came on your door?” said Sharon.

“The bad stuff that went on he kept from us but we knew, it was something that never really left your mind.

“We would count down the months first, then the weeks and then the days until he came back.

“I can tell you those homecomings were pretty special times.”

Remembrance Day also has greater significance for the Lemires.

“When Michael was away it really did seem to make Remembrance Day extra special, it really brought home the sacrifices and the things a lot of men and women went through,” said Sharon.

Michael recently returned to Canada from a three-year military exchange program at the Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

He is currently in charge of the military police wing at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

Michael agreed with his mother about the importance of Nov. 11.

“I think back to when I first flew into Kandahar and within that week there were five Canadians who were killed and we had the ceremony on the ramp where they brought in the coffins, the padre spoke and they did the salute and they were loaded on the Canadian Herc (Hercules aircraft) and it flew away,” recalled Michael. “Those individuals, they gave all they had an hopefully when we leave here people don’t forget that.

“For me it’s just remembering all the soldiers and airmen and sailors but I also think when I’m there (on parade) about all the families of people who left and didn’t come back. Military life can be difficult on families.”

While he loves his job, Michael, who has a son and daughter,  admitted it was difficult to see how mothers and fathers struggled to provide the necessities of life.

As part of their work in Afghanistan he and other Canadian soldiers would help where they could by delivering donated items to those in need.

“You would pull up to this small clay or dirt building or hut and the father would come out and the children and the only clothes they had were the ones that they were wearing,” said Michael. “All they’re trying to do is just to make it through the week.

“It was a good feeling seeing the smiles on the faces of the children but also seeing the smiles on the faces of the parents when they realize they’ve got food for a few days or the kids have shoes or boots to wear through the winter.”

As the person responsible for the security of the Kandahar base Michael found that kindness and understanding were often more effective than brute force.

But there were also the days when he was worried for his own safety and that of his team.

“We came under fire numerous times and there were certain situations when it could have gone either way,” said Michael. “It’s incredible when you go to places like Afghanistan you recognize that this (Canada) is not a bad place to live. It’s nice to come back home.”

Just Posted

Penticton athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Penticton Vees look to playoffs after Feb. 16 win against Langley

The team needs to win two of their last three games to claim the division title

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

Here’s your first look at Penticton’s proposed budget for 2019

The city is recommending a 3.6 per cent tax increase, additional increase to business tax multiplier

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read