The magic of a crayon and some blank pieces of paper in a camp for displaced persons established in Knin, Croatia, 1995.Sandra Perron
A damaged church in Bosnia, 1993.Sandra Perron
Photo of an Armoured Personnel Carrier that was hit by an anti-tank mine. One soldier was wounded (Croatia, 1995).Sandra Perron
The Royal 22nd Regiment anti-tank platoon building a set of swings in their spare time in a schoolyard in Bilanje, Croatia, 1995.Sandra Perron
Sandra Perron's platoon finds another way of using a military helmet (Croatia, 1995).Sandra Perron
Photo of Sandra Perron with an orphan, one of many who was abandoned due to heavy fighting in Fojnica, Bosnia in 1993. Look how tightly he is holding her hand.Sandra Perron.
Hi, my name is Sandra Perron, and I was a Captain in the Royal Twenty-Second Regiment, Second Battalion.
I spent thirteen years in the Canadian Forces, did two tours in the former Yugoslavia, the first one in Bosnia, as Assistant Operations Officer, and the second one as Anti-Tank Platoon Commander in Croatia.
And really, the first tour I was in an Operations cell, and didn't get to see all that much, although we worked so hard to help the people in Yugoslavia. But the second tour, as Anti-Tank Platoon Commander we got to do a lot more including surveillance operations, prisoner exchange, we got to build playgrounds for kids and help the local population. Very very rewarding experience.
And we got a chance to really develop the platoon esprit de corps, with some good experiences and some rally tough ones like three anti-tank mines, and we had some soldiers wounded. it was very very hard, it was overall a rewarding experience.
One of the picture is a hospital in Phoenicia where our platoon was tasked to really de-mine the road going to the hospital and explore what had happened. We had heard a rumour that the hospital of children had been abandoned during the war, and when we got there it was just terrifying. There were kids that had been starving for three days, had not had any food. Most of them were severely handicapped and couldn't fend for themselves.
And our soldiers were tasked with helping out the hospital, and helping them survive what they had been through. So we planned a convoy from the UNHCR and finally got them food over the two days following that, protected the hospital, and really got them up and running. And [we] made sure there was security around the hospital, so that nurses could come back and staff the hospital.
It was very traumatizing, but rewarding at the same time, because we got to save the lives of so many kids that were helpless.
The picture of the little girl making a drawing is in a refugee camp. We had over 800 refugees that had just flown from their homes. Our platoon was tasked to protect, first of all, the headquarters, and also the displaced people that were in the camp. And there was about 126 little kids. Our soldiers kept them occupied with drawings and glow stick that they lighted for them at night, and toys that were shipped from Canada, all over the country, to help the displaced persons. It was just wonderful to see so much generosity coming from Canada.
I'm very proud of what our soldiers and our Peace Keepers have done all over the world. We've participated in so many peace-keeping missions and we've really done well with the resources that we have.
We have the best soldiers in the world, I am convinced.