Trevor Bartlett will spend Christmas on the HMCS Winnipeg working with NATO forces in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Reassurance – Canada’s measures to promote security and stability in central and eastern Europe.
The proud mother said she would love to be able to visit her son or welcome him home to Grand Bank for Christmas but knows this year that will not be possible.
“It’s very emotional for me, not knowing if he is safe or not,” she said. “I always tell them when they are away be safe and be careful. As long as he is safe and gets home safely, I am okay. He is in the military, and this is all a part of it.”
Bartlett left Grand Bank to join the military in 1996 – following in the footsteps of his two older brothers Terry and Troy. He now lives in Victoria, B.C., with his wife and two sons.
Like everyone else, he would love to be home with his family at Christmas but said he feels fortunate that this is the first time he has been away from home for the festive season since joining the Canadian Armed Forces.
Bartlett was able to get home to visit his family for two weeks in November and celebrated Christmas a bit early.
“The military offers opportunity for members to go home at different times during long deployments to visit family but not over Christmas in order to be fair to everyone,” he said.
“Before I got home on Nov. 20, Tina (his wife) put up the Christmas tree, and we celebrated an early Christmas and our oldest son Matthew’s birthday.”
Because of improved technology, he noted military personnel are better able to keep in touch with families while deployed.
“We are able to call home a few times a week to speak with loved ones,” he said “Long gone are the days when you had to write an email on a 3.5-inch floppy disk and deliver it to the communication control room so they could send it out for you over the server.”
Bartlett feels good knowing his wife and sons will spend Christmas with her parents and his mother will visit his brother Terry and his family in Nova Scotia.
Even though there is a 10-hour time difference, he will be able to FaceTime with them on Christmas day.
While Christmas dinner will not be the same, the military does its best to accommodate them, Bartlett said.
“On Christmas day, we will have a Christmas dinner with all the fixings. I will not be as good as what Mom makes, but it brings some normality to being so far away from home,” he said.