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Soldier's Christmas parcel ruined in mail

Dec 10 2011

The Canadian military has expressed regret that Christmas packages and mail from a Victoria family to a soldier stationed in Afghanistan was delivered soaking wet and in garbage bags instead of the original packaging.

Terrie Marchand told CTV News she and her family put together a package of letters and gifts for her son, Drew, who is stationed with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at Camp Mike Spann in northern Afghanistan.

When he received the package, it was in sealed garbage bags filled with water.

The cards and letters were unreadable, Terrie said. A parcel was soaked through the wrapping of a DVD right to the disc.

The incident is regrettable, said Department of National Defence spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. John Nethercott by phone from Canadian Operational Support Command in Ottawa.

"It turns out some packages were inadvertently exposed to the elements," said Nethercott.

The damage occurred in Afghanistan, between Kabul and where Marchand's son is stationed, he said.

"We treat the mail very carefully," said Nethercott. "Once the folks in Kabul were notified that this happened, they immediately went to retrieve this stuff . . . and to get it out of the wet packaging they used what they had on hand [garbage bags]."

The area around Kabul is experiencing heavy rain, he said.

Nethercott could not say how much mail was damaged "but one piece of mail that's damaged is too much. We recognize that and we've taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again."

One step has been to set up a secure, weather-resistant storage facility, where incoming mail can be placed before it is sent out to outlying camps, Nethercott said.


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