21198 Cybele Wilson: “Once I was accepted I knew I had to go!”

Ex-Cadet Works for Veterans in and out of Uniform 

Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt 

21198 Cybele Wilson (CMR/RMC 1998) had a unique start to her military college career. She first heard of the military college system while in tenth grade at Philemon Wright High School in Hull, Quebec. “I applied not expecting to get in since I was a ballerina,” she said. “Once I was accepted I knew I had to go because it would be an adventure!”

And it was. She entered CMR St-Jean in 1993 and graduated from RMC five years later. Since then she has spent 25 years as a Health Care Administrator both in the Regular and Reserve Forces. “In that time,” she said, “I’ve had the honour of commanding two units so far, 28 Field Ambulance and 32 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre Toronto. I also deployed with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Turkey and was involved with NATO COMEDS and ABCA as the Canadian Health Services representative on working groups.”

Her career outside of the Regular Forces has been impactful as well. While in the Primary Reserves, “I had the opportunity to work for another ex-Cadet, 19894 Erin O’Toole, as his Director of Stakeholder Relations while he was the Minister of Veterans Affairs,” Wilson explained. “In fact, I continue to work in the veterans’ “sphere” alongside other ex-Cadets as a director on the board of Arcs of Fire Investments, Canada’s first socially responsible mutual fund that supports injured veterans’ organizations.” (See link here.)

Despite the challenges of the military college experience (“doing two years at the entry level of a military college is not my idea of a good time,” she joked), her time at the colleges left a lifelong impression. It was, in part, the staff who helped to ensure this. “Dr. Jane Errington was my thesis advisor and academic mentor while at RMC” Wilson remembered.  “She had high expectations and pushed me to develop my writing skills. She was also very supportive of me writing about women in Canadian history. She organized opportunities for me to study at Queen’s University in the Women’s Studies Department in order for me to adequately prepare me for my thesis on a feminist topic. She is wicked smart and made history come to life for me and all of her students.”

When asked to pinpoint a “few” favorite memories from her military college days, she replied, “All of my favorite memories have one thing in common – my friends. Your friends get you through the hard times and the occasional shenanigans! And there is one memory that will make me smile forever: meeting the love of my life, 19806 Dermod Coombs. We’ve been married for twenty years now and have three children.”