Military vehicles rolling into Prince Albert on Monday were only part of the excitement for one Prince Albert mother, who was reunited with her son.
On Monday, fire evacuees and Prince Albert residents watched in awe as military vehicles filled with soldiers who will aid in northern firefighting operations rolled into Prince Albert. The 500 forces personnel stopped for the afternoon and night at Prince Albert armory in Exhibition Park.
Janine Appolloni and her daughter were there to welcome them.
Armed forces arrive in Prince Albert to help with firefighting efforts. Janine Appolloni welcomes them. Chelsea Laskowski, paNOW Staff
She has a family full of armed forces members – her husband just retired after 32 years, and she has four sons in uniform.
One of Appolloni’s sons, Anthony Appolloni, arrived in Prince Albert on Monday with the military. He’s been stationed in Edmonton, and for the past four years, Janine and her husband were stationed in Germany.
“We don’t often get to see our children in action so this is really cool. That’s why we raced down here when we heard that he was going to be in the neighbourhood, because this never happens for us. We always hear about the things he does but we never get to see them,” Janine said.
Anthony and his comrades will receive staggered training, with about 200 people daily receiving a crash course in firefighting operations. The training is based in Exhibition Park, as the armory and Exhibition Hall are being used.
A non-combat mission like this is a relief for Janine.
“Fighting fires is a little bit scary but certainly compared to Afghanistan or something like that, it still allows me to sleep nights,” she said.
It’s not only Janine who appreciates seeing the arrival of the forces, who received a warm welcome in Prince Albert. Crowds of curious people stopped by the armory on Monday to say hello, take pictures with the soldiers, and many curious children checked out the equipment.
“It brings people a lot of comfort knowing that the military is coming to help and the people who had been working for, you know, the weeks leading up to today, are very tired. So I know they’re very relieved in many ways to see the army come in,” Janine said.
Although members of the public were welcome to get up close to the army vehicles, Janine actually got to go inside one of them.
What stood out to her was “how cramped they are. They don’t look super-comfortable. It explains why they arrive at their destinations a little cranky sometimes, and blood-shot eyes,” Janine said.
The first crew of trained personnel will head out around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Currently 500 more military personnel are in Manitoba awaiting deployment if needed.
On Twitter: @chelsealaskowsk