The first is our Course Photo taken June 19, 1988 the day before the accident. I am the top Left in Camouflage.
My Father was an Engine Technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 37 years. He and I watched the movie Officer and a Gentleman in 1985 and as the movie ended my Dad challenged me with "You could not do that." The next day I went to recruiting in Halifax and started the process for Officer Training. I was enrolled in May 1986 and went to CFB Chilliwack for Basic Officer Training followed by Royal Roads Military College in Victoria BC.
At the end of my first year at RRMC 1987 I transferred to Carleton University and joined 3 Field Engineer Squadron Reserves as a Combat Engineer Officer in Training.
The summer of 1988 was both exciting and tragic.
The first part of Summer Training Reserve Officer Cadets were sent to CFB Gagetown to do their Basic Training. Although I had already completed Regular Officer Basic Training my Commanding Officer felt I should attend to build cohesion with my fellow trainees. Upon completion of this course we were flown to CFB Chilliwack for Combat Engineer Training Officer Phase 2.
The course was going very well.
However - June 20, 1988 at Sleese Creek BC Explosive Training Range the explosives went off early killing six of my friends instantly. I had been thrown 50' vertically and 250' laterally. My two Newfoundland Coursemates revived me and I was taken to hospital with two other Cadets, Mike Brydon and Jeff Clarke.
I was the only injured Cadet to return the following year to try to do the Course again. That did not go well at all. I returned to my Unit after the summer of 1989 and resigned.
I recieved my First Veterans Affairs Canada Disability Cheque for physical wounds which were visible and Letter stating to work with my Case Manager in 1995. I continued to fight for Disability Benefits for other injuries sustained in the accident as well as Pension Coverage in a step by step battle with Veterans Affairs Canada until success in December 2018.
I have had great support through Case Managers as well as Family and Friends but it was my Determination and Will to Win not only for myself but to set Precedence for Soldiers and Veterans which drove me to continue to fight for Coverage.
In March 2019 I was elected President of the Toronto Sapper Association which is made up of former members of 32 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Toronto as well as other Veterans of Combat Engineers Units who live in Toronto.