The news is out all over Canada since the first "Homes for Heroes" Village opened in Calgary last week.
The charity's "Grand Opening" was deferred to October 28, so we've been following closely online to try to stay connected and informed.
Here is one of the news features that day: https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/tiny-home-village-for-veterans-opens-in-calgary?
We noticed a common room in the news feed that had two of our mats side-by-side, so we immediately mailed out a larger "Colours of Canada" runner. They should have it by now.
Move in day for the vets was on November 1. You can read a little (privacy issues) about that on the Homes for Heroes website
Fred and I had planned to handwrite a thank you letter for each vet to tuck under a mat or discreetly leave for them somewhere. When the Grand Opening was delayed which meant that we were unable to attend while we were in Calgary, that idea floated away for awhile.
This morning it reappeared fully formed in my brain and I emailed an electronic version for HfH's admins to forward on our and you behalf. Our letter is attached with our gratitude below:
Hey there... this was supposed to be a short, hand-written letter left discreetly in your new home. I've had a hard time writing it, so it's late and rambling and far too long for my poor penmanship to copy out 15 times. So here it is, sincere but wordy...
We tell our kids (and anyone else who might need to hear it) that being born in Canada is like winning the lottery.
We have you to thank for that.
Thank you or your commitment to keeping us and others safe and protected. Thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice and your heart and your caring. Thank you for doing what we couldn't do and what we are so grateful that our own sons didn't have to do. Thank you for forgoing the comforts that we enjoy every day in order that we can continue to enjoy them.
And thank you to your families.
Your wives and your kids and your parents and all of your loved ones who shared you with us and the world so that you could do your important work. The price they pay in missing you and worrying about your safety is high. They've been so generous. How many of us could do the same?
We also need to say that we are sorry.
You deserved better from us the citizens of your beloved country. We should have been more aware of your circumstances. We should have lobbied our government to treat you with the utmost care and respect upon your return. Your needs should be met. Period. That is your right. You earned it and you should not have had to ask.
We will do better.
My husband and I talk about you. A lot.
We feature our "Colours of Canada" mat and our plaque at various venues and shows and we tell people about you. We tell them how many of you live on the streets and how those numbers are growing. We tell them that you are important... that you matter and that we owe all of our comforts to you.
Many listen. Some tear up. Some ask for more information. Some buy one of our mats and thank us for doing our little part. Sometimes we even get a hug. That hug is for you. That "thank you" is for you.
And that "Welcome Mat" is for you.
We hope you like it and we hope that it will sometimes remind you that we care and Canada cares.
Caroline and Fred Wideman
Many people contributed to making our "Colours of Canada" mat possible.
Erica Dornbusch, our favourite artist, heard us when we said we wanted to provide you with a mat that was truly Canadian. One that might make you smile and feel welcome and appreciated when you walk into your new home.
The lovely people at HugRug, a top quality zero-waste family business, heard us and rushed our mat samples and finished product through so they could be there in time to welcome you home. HugRug patiently tweaked their vegetable-based dyes which are naturally quite muted to the brightest shades of autumn because we wanted you to feel the beauty that is Canada all year round.
Many friends, family, customers and strangers sponsored our KICKSTARTER campaign and helped us raise the funds to do something that we would never have been able to finance on our own. And many more have purchased mats since then to help us to continue to support "Homes for Heroes" in their future village building initiatives.
"Homes for Heroes" allowed a tiny business like ours to partner with them because we really, really wanted to let you know how much you mean to us. We wanted to say "thank you", "we're so sorry" and "we're so grateful" and "Welcome Home" in the best way we know how... by providing you with our best quality "Welcome Mat".