Humans of Campbell River: Legion

Humans of Campbell River is a collaboration between Destination Campbell River and Bluetree Photography. Showcasing the stories of those who call our coastal community home. Each week we deep dive into a new story and the connections between people and place. 

I was born March 19, 1952, in Montréal, Québec in the suburb of Cote des Neige. My family moved often and we finally settled in the West end suburb of Montréal of Lachine. I spent my youth all over Montréal and went to numerous schools. I didn’t have many friends until we moved to Lachine. I played hockey, broomball, baseball, and practiced the Martial Art of Judo. I started to work odd jobs cleaning, at a toy manufacturing company and delivering groceries. I used to spend most of my summers either at the local park, the swimming pool and at my Grand-Papa’s summer cottage about 114 km Northwest of Montréal.

When I was a young toddler and until I joined the Canadian Armed Forces my Grand-Papa was my role model; he went to war in 1914-1919 Canadian Expeditionary Force with the 22nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (French Canadian) and after the war joined the Canadian Pacific Railway Fire Department, Angus Shop, Montréal, Québec. He always took me to the Firehouse, and I was always curious about his time in the Army, but the only thing he used to say was, “I hate mud and rats”, “it was no fun”.

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I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Naval Environment in August 1969 because one of my cousins was in the Navy and I loved the sailor uniform and Grand-Papa’s encouragement. I did my basic training in CFB St-Jean, Québec from December 1969 until February 1970. Then off to CFB Borden, Ontario for my trades training as a Supply Technician (Storeman). I had many transfers to land bases in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba and on Her Majesty Canadian Ships Assiniboine, St Laurent, Skeena and Fraser on the East Coast and Yukon on the West Coast plus a few temporary duties for the 1977 Air Cadet Camp in CFB Penhold, Alberta, the 1978 Commonwealth Games and in 1984 with the United Disengagement Organizational Forces in the Golan Heights in the Middle East. During my time in the military, I was able to travel and see almost all of the Canadian Provinces and Territories as well as many countries like Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Dutch Antilles and many countries in South America, I also travelled to Western Europe and saw Scotland, England, West Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Gibraltar, France, Belgium and went to a few States like Boston, Massachusetts, Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway Alaska, Honolulu, Hawaii and San Diego, California.

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I retired from the Navy in 1997 after 28 years of service and moved to British Columbia in 1998. I joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1977 but was not an active member of the Legion because of the military and when I went into the workforce as a civilian, I was committed to my career; it wasn’t until 2012 when I moved to Campbell River to be closer to our GrandDaughters that I got really involved with the Legion, first as a member of the Executive Committee, then a Service Officer, 2nd Vice-President and now 1st Vice-President. I still serve as a Service Officer where I can help Veterans with claims to Veterans Affairs or help their widows with various problems they encounter after their partner’s passing.

Humans of CR

 also am involved with organizing the Annual Remembrance Day Ceremony and gives me time to reflect on my Grand-Papa who went to war in 1914-1918 and survived but also to remember my Great Uncle (my Grand-Papa’s brother) who died 31st October 1916 in a Concentration Camp at Parchim, Germany and is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, Germany.

I take my position in the Legion very seriously and it permits me to be of help to my community. I am also the Master-at-Arms for the Royal Canadian Naval Association, Comox Branch. I am a strong fan of our Jr. B hockey team the Storm, a Blue Jays fan, a Montréal Alouettes fan and a devoted fan of the Montréal Canadians.

Humans of CR

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