￼ One year ago, January 2022, I joined the Canadian Army Reserve as a new recruit with Canada’s oldest unit, The Canadian Grenadier Guards. Some of my goals in adopting this new part-time career were to get in shape, get outdoors, gain leadership experience, and meet new people. Most of all with the global pandemic, I wanted to go where I was needed and make a difference.
Reflecting on these goals a year later, I am in the best shape of my life. I spent over a month of the last year living outdoors. I am managing a platoon of over 30 soldiers and training to lead them into battle.
The people I met include a Canadian sniper with three tours in Afghanistan, a para-commando Colonel who trained with the British SAS and fought in the Falklands, and a First Nations Sergeant and pathfinder who could track the foraging patterns of animals near our bivouac sites from their droppings. And for every such distinguished military resumé, I met countless seemingly ordinary teachers and paramedics and lawyers, who as reservists had put their careers and family lives on hold to serve their country in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
To cap off my first year, this week I began work on Operation VECTOR, helping to provide vaccine distribution capacity for Québec’s COVID booster shot campaign. I feel a great sense of purpose in this new task, and I am touched by the overwhelming gratitude we have received so far from the public and also from the nurses and support workers in the vaccination centers. These last people are your true heroes – they have been stretched to their limits these past weeks and have not received so much media coverage.
I am a firm believer in the importance and relevance of the Canadian Armed Forces to Canada and the world today. Amid a global pandemic and a worsening climate crisis, now more than ever we are rising to the occasion. That’s why I am proud to be a citizen soldier.