I was born in 1971, and I grew up in the small town of Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland. My mother was a schoolteacher, and became a homemaker once she had children. My father was in the Canadian Army in the 1960s, but left after an injury. Later, he worked at fishing plants to provide for the family. Today, I live in Wainwright, Alberta.
I had always dreamed of joining the Canadian Forces, as my father and my grandfather did before me. I participated in the Army Cadets while I was growing up. I had planned to join the Forces right after high school, but I won a scholarship to go to college, so I took that road instead. I eventually joined part-time in 1995 as a Reserve soldier with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. In 2000, I joined the Canadian Army full-time.
My career with the military:
When I first enlisted, I was an Infantry Soldier. This position involved a lot of tough physical training. Later, I moved to Edmonton, Alberta and started working as a clerk, taking care of pay and recordkeeping for soldiers. Since 2011, I have been the Chief Clerk at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Wainwright.
The most rewarding experience of my career was deploying to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2006. In Kandahar, as part of my duties, I went on medical outreach trips to small villages, providing food and medicine to local men, women and children.
During my career so far, I have received the South-West Asia Service Medal, my Canadian Forces Decoration, a Commander’s Commendation, a Commander in Chief Commendation, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
When I joined the infantry, my first challenge was being the only woman in my group. I felt I needed to prove myself to earn the respect of the male soldiers around me. Now, as a clerk, my colleagues are men and women, and I do not face any problems with being accepted as a woman. Another challenge I face in the Army is making sure I am ready at a moment’s notice to go and provide assistance where it is needed, in Canada or abroad. I also can’t forget the challenge of leaving my family behind when I go. This is very emotionally difficult. What makes it worth it, in my opinion, is knowing I am helping others.
Remembrance in my community:
To me, Remembrance is not just something we do on November 11th each year. It is something I think about every day, while I am doing my job. I have many friends and family members who served in the military. My grandfather lost his life in the Second World War. My Father served in Germany and worked at the Berlin Wall. Many of my friends have served in Afghanistan. Remembrance to me is holding a little piece of each of these people in my heart, and recognizing their contributions.