Karen Wilson is affectionately known as the Petrolia Cookie Lady.
Mrs. Wilson and her husband M.B. (Malcolm Bruce) have sent thousands of gift packages containing their home-baked shortbread cookies to Canadian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan
and other trouble spots around the world.
The sweet smell of baked butter, sugar and flower wafts through the Wilson’s home as they churn out cookies made to the specifications of a family recipe passed down by her Scottish great-grandmother.
Karen estimates she has baked more than 60,000 cookies over the past four years and has totally worn out an oven. However she is now equipped with a newer model oven and continues to send our troops abroad a little taste of home and a reminder that
folks at home support them.
“I love to bake, obviously, or else I wouldn’t be doing this,” she said. “But I do get a nice warm feeling when they are going to our troops.”
She added that she first began sending cookies
to soldiers when a co-worker’s brother was deployed overseas and she wanted to do something to support him. She ended up sending cookies to 16 soldiers that year and as she says: “It just grew from there.”
And there is little question
our troops enjoy these delicious gifts.
The Wilsons often receive letters, trinkets, and other little tokens of appreciation from grateful soldiers, many of them half a world away.
To cover the costs of ingredients the Wilsons can often be seen
selling cookies and buttons printed with military photographs. These buttons have become lucky charms in the battle fields as soldiers often display them on their tanks and military vehicles.
Lambton MPP Bob Bailey says Karen Wilson’s baked treats
have served as a tender reminder of home as well as a small comfort to many of our troops living away from their families and loved ones.
Consequently, last year he submitted her name to receive a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Certificate.
The commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebration of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne as well as to recognize and honour Canadian citizens such as Karen Wilson who make significant contributions
to their communities and beyond.