Part-time military can’t happen without part-time support

Fredericton Daily Gleaner, by Micheal Staples

Peter Kramers was feeling a lot of pride Wednesday.

The CEO of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires was one of 10 New Brunswick organizations and individuals honoured at Government House for granting members of this country’s reservists time away from work for military service.

“We’re very proud of that,” Kramers said in an interview. “We’re very proud of the organization and that we have the capability to extend that support to our reserves.

The acknowledgement was made by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC), a collection of more than 200 Canada-wide senior business executives and educational leaders, a full-time secretariat and a national network of reserve officers.

Each recipient was nominated for the distinction by part-time soldiers.

Kramers said his organization is proud of the support it provides to the reserves.

Being an ex-military person, he said he appreciates the balance an individual has to make in order for the reserve commitment to work.

“We provide as much support as we possibly can to our reserve members to carry on with their training at home or their preparations at home and abroad.”

Peter McDougall, CFLC New Brunswick chairman, expressed thanks to employers and educators for their co-operation in freeing up reservists to perform their duties.

“Without your interest and support, our reservists simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do,” he said. “Whether that’s engaging in training or deploying on operations within the country or overseas, it’s your support that makes it all possible.”

Brig.-Gen. David Henley, deputy commander of 5th Canadian Division, said none of what reservists do could be accomplished without the support of families and the co-operation of employers and educators.

The path chosen by reservists requires a certain amount of flexibility, Henley said.

“For a reservist to succeed and, frankly, for that reservist to gain any fulfilment from their (call) with the military, requires accommodations from their employers and educators,” he said. “It simply requires recognition, the commitment to service those individuals have made.”

A part-time military can’t happen without part-time support, the deputy commander said.

Lt.-Col. Ron Bertin, commander of the Royal New Brunswick Regiment (RNBR), the province’s primary reserve unit, said it’s critical his personnel receive time to complete various military duties.

“If employers don’t allow our soldiers the time off, they have a very difficult challenge in trying to progress – whether it be individual courses for a couple of weeks in the summertime or being able to go away on an exercise such as Stalwart Goose, which we did a couple of weeks ago,” Bertin said. “Their support is essential.”

Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau spoke of the commitment and dedication that reservists represent. She said they often put the wellbeing of the country ahead of their own

Dr. Robert Knowles of Crandall University, another award recipient, said the recognition left him with a good feeling.

“We service not only education but we want to build into the lives of our students’ volunteer efforts and their future careers,” he said. “We’re honoured to be represented here today and to be nominated for the award.”

Other recipients included: Ian Allan, the University of New Brunswick; D. Welton, Walkers Investigation Bureau; Dr. Edouard Hendriks, Horizon Health Network; John Craig, Craig Manufacturing Limited; Yvon Bourque, Ambulance New Brunswick; Ransford Lockhart, Department of Social Development; Mayor Mel Norton, City of Saint John; and Jamie Whittaker, the Anglican Parish of the Nerepis and St. John.