The mission was different but the homecoming had the same outpouring of love for crew members of the HMCS Halifax.
On Jan. 14 the ship and its 225 crew members departed from Halifax harbour for Haiti with no fixed return date, just two days after a massive earthquake devastated the island nation.
Dozens of families gathered on a Halifax dock yesterday morning, shaking off the biting cold wind while waving Canadian flags and welcome home signs.
As the ship grew nearer children ran around excitedly — and to stay warm — while a band played songs ranging from the Hockey Night in Canada theme to What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor.
“It’s been difficult. Very difficult. We had no preparation because it just happened so quickly,” Wendy Pearcey said as she waited for her husband Carl to get back.
“It wasn’t a deployment where you know that they’re going for six months and you have a start date and an end date … But we’re very proud of the work they’ve done. Very proud.”
Crew were swarmed by joyful friends and family as they stepped onto the dock. At a brief press conference officers spoke confidently of the work they did in Jacmel.
“The city was pretty much at a standstill when we first got there. The first thing we did is we cleared the streets so we could facilitate the movement,” said Commander Josee Kurtz.
“Then we moved on from there to food distribution, sanitation and water distribution.”
Thanks to satellite TV crew members were able to catch the last few days of the Olympic Games on the way back home. Practically the entire crew gathered in the mess hall for the gold medal match, where they saw Sidney Crosby score the overtime winner for Canada in men’s hockey.
‘It was a nice way to end the trip,” said Petty Officer Wayne Burke.