By Bruce Holland, Publisher
The war in the Ukraine has made many of us acutely aware of the importance of our country having an effective military, to not only defend our sovereignty, but to be able to help others in times of need, whether it be in times of war, natural disasters, both home and abroad, or in peace keeping from time to time.
Recently, a group of Halifax business and community leaders were invited by Major-General R.R.E. (Rob Roy) MacKenzie, OMM, CD Chief of Reserves, to participate in the Canadian Armed Forces Executrek Program for senior leaders of Canadian businesses to educate and help them understand the importance of our Canadian Military Reserves. Approximately, thirty company owners, managers, and other community members, attended the 5th Canadian Division Military Training Centre at Camp Aldershot in Nova Scotia and in the afternoon returned to Halifax to tour the new HMCS Margaret Brooke, one of our new world class Artic Patrol Ships.
Those who attended received more information and first had experience of the importance of our Military Reserve Program, how it works, its relevance to our “Regular Forces,” and the value these men and women bring to their civilian employers.
The Reserve Force is an integral component of the Canadian Armed Forces. Reservists are primarily part-time service positions. They may volunteer for full-time employment or deployment on operations. They typically serve one or more evenings a week and/or during weekends at locations close to home. Reserve units are in hundreds of communities across Canada and the world. Most Reservists hold civilian jobs or are students enrolled in post-secondary programs. For these reasons, they are sometimes referred to as “citizen soldiers”. The Regional Chief Warrant Officer, Lawrence Conrad, who was one of our tour guides for this experience, and who started his career in the Reserves as a Private in 1989 at 17 years old said, “my training in the military greatly contributed to my success in business. I had no formal education in business, so I used my military training with administration and logistics to help shape my companies. I spent my summers and did some full-time military courses and taskings until my early 20’s when I started my businesses.” Lawrence stayed loyal to both work environments over the years, and eventually reached the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.
Lawrence was the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the Princess Louise Fusiliers (PLF) for the last five years until he was chosen to go into the “Employer Support Programs” as the Regional Chief Warrant Officer for Atlantic Canada, working under the Vice Chief of Defense Staff, with team members, Col. Shawn McPherson, Commander Greg Gillis, and Commander Rob Alain. Lawrence has been running his multi-million-dollar company for 27 years and has been with the Army Reserves for 34 years. He is a prime example of the positive influence a career in the Reserves can have on an individual. There are three types of services in the Reserve Force. The type of service under which an individual serves determines whether the employment is full- or parttime as well as the compensation and benefits the reservist will receive. Reservists may serve on more than one type of service at various times throughout their time in the Reserve Force. The Primary Reserve is largely comprised of part-time soldiers, sailors, and aviators, who work in armouries. They are members who have other full-time civilian employment or who attend school, and who dedicate themselves to the military on a part-time basis. The Primary Reserve has approximately 28,500 members.
For anyone out there searching for fulfillment in life, I cannot think of a better way to get it!