Moving on to chapter 62 in the work-place…
By: Bill & Rolande
The beginning of our journey at Panet House was helping, Doug Youngson, who was the Executive Director of the Club – with the Ex Cadet Weekend (which it was called back in 1995).
As the years went by we continued to help out where-ever we could including:
- Recruiters for student-athletes – six years;
- Filling the role of Club Interim Executive Director – three different times;
- Two-time editor for the Veritas magazine;
- Sole organizers for two financially successful Legacy Dinners;
- Published RMC Hockey History Digest – in support of The Foundation – 2003;
- Behind the scenes coordinators for 20+ Reunion Weekends;
- Organizer for a ‘few’ major fund-raisers on behalf of the Club;
- Translator for countless articles for Veritas magazine and other Club documents;
- Editor e-Veritas over 14 plus years for well over 600 Issues; and
- Mentoring a number of Cadets, many of whom who have gone on to do great things in and out of uniform.
The next chapter of our life is about to begin. Hopefully, we will get as much satisfaction out of our new adventure as we have over these past 61 years in various roles associated directly or indirectly with DND.
One of many memories…
We were called upon by the Foundation to take the lead in organizing the Legacy Dinner, a few years back (while we were employed full-time by the Club). This gig earned us $2,500 (after taxes). We turned the entire $2,500 over to Helping Athletes Succeed (H.A.S.) which assisted 4-5 young ex cadets and a staff member who were pursuing athletic excellence. http://rmc-e-veritas.herokuapp.com/h-a-s-supporting-ex-cadets-in-their-pursuit-of-athletic-excellence/
We want to wish both Bill Griffis and Anna-Michelle Shewfelt much success moving forward with e-Veritas. Both are very capable, with great work ethics and outstanding writing skills.
Also, thanks to everyone who has befriended and supported us during our time at Panet House.
Add on: Following are a number of very humbling notes / letters from various people who we have had the privilege to interact with over the years. We appreciate the notes / letters very much. Hopefully, it is not overkill, by printing all of them – we could not see of any other way, as ‘each’ one means so very much to us.
Bill & Rolande
What some people had to say…
From 2013 to 2016, I worked for Bill at the RMC Club as an OCdt. Initially, I was an extra set of hands as I had found myself on Holding Platoon, removed from my classes as I had become depressed and was not medically fit to be studying. Bill was able to take me under his wing, give me tasks that gave me some purpose, and showed me a lot of compassion. Frequently, we would chat in his office, overlooking the parade square, discussing life and its challenges. I must credit him for helping me to recover and never giving up on me.
As I got better, Bill had learned that I had a passion for photography. Always looking to showcase events around the College as best he could, he was able to employ me as a photographer. I was fortunate enough to attend many events that continued to help me heal, build confidence, reduce anxiety, and provide meaning. Among my favourites were the Carr Harris Cup and I-81 Exchange West Point Hockey Game at the K-Rock Center, Senior Officer Meet and Greets, and parades both at the college and in town.
Through this employment with him, I was able to go back to classes and complete my Bachelor in Computer Science. I continued to do “freelance photography” for e-Veritas, often picking up last minute gigs when Bill needed someone most.
My favourite memory working with Bill was Bruciepalooza in 2014. The Trews, from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, happened to be in town and were going to join RMC’s artist in residence, Gord Sinclair of The Tragically Hip. Two of my favourite bands, I was excited to be photographing the event for Bill. An hour before, he and I were working on the article as the deadline for release was immediately after the show. I remember him asking me, “What’s the name of that song The Trews play again?” Yup, he wrote this before it happened, and might I add, he was 100% correct:
A constant rain with cool temperatures, some would say chilly, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the appreciative crowd. It is usually pretty tough to pick-out the individual top act (as they were all good); however, most would agree that the high-light of the show was the Trews / Hip – Highway of Heroes. – Bill Oliver, link to article: http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/college-finds-time-for-a-little-rr-down-the-homestretch/
Bill and Rolande, congratulations on your successes over the years, and thank you for your incredible dedication to the Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada.
26267, Capt Erik St-Gelais
Formerly a freelance photographer for e-Veritas, 2014-2016
As a Life Member and a Past President of the Ottawa Branch and the Club, I can attest to the existential contributions Bill and Rolande have made to the team at Panet House, to the Club and to the Colleges. They will be fondly remembered, and sorely missed.
7943 J. William K. Lye, CD, P.Eng. FCMC – Class of 1969
Bill Oliver was without a doubt the most important mentor that I have had through the Royal Military College of Canada.
I first met him as I was being recruited through the men’s volleyball program, and he has been a role model and a friend ever since.
Bill provided fresh perspectives, advice, and wit throughout all stages of my adult life thus far, be it during my application process to the CAF, during my time as both a cadet and then a grad student at RMCC, or after I moved to the west coast and became involved with the Club’s BoD from afar. I will always remain thankful for his work in helping me prepare my Rhodes Scholarship application, and I likely would not have been selected as a finalist without his help.
Bill and Rolande have graciously opened their home (and kitchen) to me in the past, and I’ve always looked forward to catching up with them during a return trip to Kingston. Their presence on campus and within the Club will surely be missed, as there are so many of us who have benefitted from having known and worked with them. Thank you for your many years of service to the Club and the College at large.
24712 Brent Fisher
Approximately 20 years ago, Betty received a call from a “Major Bill Oliver”, with RMC, concerning our son, Shannon, who was then playing hockey in Langley, B.C. . Betty though Bill had said RCMP and nearly fainted. This was a life changing moment for Shannon and us. Our son, who had no interest in the military, ended up attending RMC for 5 years, playing hockey and is now Major Shannon Goudie, working in Ottawa and about to be promoted. During the time Shannon was at RMC, Bill and Rolande were always there for him and us. We could never thank then enough for being so caring and helpful. Our family has been truly blessed to have Bill and Rolande as our friends.
Ed and Betty Goudie – proud parents of an Ex Cadet
Bill and Rolande were true ambassadors for OUA hockey. Their commitment to overseeing the operations and growth of the sport is, in my mind, a reason the sport is so competitively balanced today.
Organising and guiding a group of stubborn, competitive and team focused coaches so that the best interests of “the whole” would prevail, was no easy task.
Many league challenges were seemed to be “magically” solved simply over a cup of coffee. Others, with a firm, but fair, decision from “the commissioner” (Bill).
The coaches appreciated the forthright manner in which these decisions had to be made. The group moved forward because of it.
Of course, we all knew who the real boss was!! When we thought of our hockey convener it was as a pair . . . and Rolande always outranked Bill!!
Please pass along my regrets for not being able to attend and express, in my absence, how grateful I am for their support and friendship over the years.
Murray Nystrom former President OUA (M) Hockey Coaches
Bill & Rolande,
I feel very fortunate to have reconnected with you in August last year on the occasion of 13846 Kevin Bryski’s retirement from the RCAF. As master of ceremonies, I took full advantage of the opportunity to roast “Big Kevin”. Since he and I shared many wild adventures as junior officers, it was appropriate to play on the theme of Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. So,Kevin became Danny and I became Peachie. Best of all was your significant contribution of suitable props! Only at the last minute of course, did I think of enhancing the presentation with two pith helmets. I will be forever grateful to you, Bill, for racing over to Clothing Stores just before the close of business. God bless you for getting in under the wire to sign them out and then driving them all the way to Ottawa in time for the event.
Of course, this conspicuous act was absolutely true to form for you, Bill,who would literally give the shirt off your back to any cadet or ex-cadet, and then Rolande would alter it, wash it, and press it! You are the most extraordinary couple who have given your hearts and your souls to RMC more than anyone I know, quite literally. I am constantly in awe of you when I read the dozens of articles that you have encouraged and facilitated in e-Veritas every week. That brilliant publication is a constant outpouring of support for RMC cadets, staff, and ex-cadets. I will be forever grateful for your outstanding success in promoting the most positive image of our beloved institution and in fostering camaraderie among our RMC brethren.With much admiration and deepest gratitude, I wish you joyful adventure and much love,
11766 Colonel (retired) James Philip Doherty, OMM, CD, P.Eng.
Dear Bill & Rolande –
Congratulations and thank you for the many years of keeping us abreast of RMC and military events, but most importantly our colleagues and friends. There are handful of people in my life that have had a significant impact on my success day. Bill and Rolande are two of these people. Sitting with Bill after the prospects camp, he provided guidance and the opportunity to become a student athlete and a member of RMC which now looking back on, was the best decision that could have been made.
Bill & Rolande, thank you both and best of luck on your next adventure!
21974 Marc (Granny) Granlund
It is nearly beyond the capability of my imagination to picture the RMC grounds without Bill prowling them, observing on the peninsula’s activities and, with the close support of Rolande, documenting and expounding upon them. Who will do this now? Because, you see, what Bill and Rolande have been doing is enormously important.
While I was Commandant, I would frequently look up from my desk in MacKenzie to catch sight of a conspicuously athletic figure passing quietly by on the red carpet in the hallway. Why, that’s’ Bill Oliver! “Bill”, I would shout out to him, “have you got a minute?” And he would always join me.
The discussions that would take place would always end with two or three recommendations on how I could use my lofty leadership position to greater effect by, perhaps, recognizing the UTPNCM’s on the next Commandant’s Parade, or by visiting the Field House when remedial PT was taking place, or simply by realizing that young cadet A or staff member B was perhaps being treated somewhat shabbily by the system. After each of these meetings I would wonder how many times Bill had passed my doorway before I noticed him.
At any rate, there were two things that I observed about the topics Bill would raise: first, it was always on behalf of others and never served himself in any way and, second, it was always reliable and well considered. It never occurred to me not to take his advice.
And since leaving RMC, I have maintained ties to Bill as close as to any past colleague. I can’t count the emails we’ve exchanged, the number of times we have spoken, or the amount of coffee we have shared.
I thank you, Bill and Rolande, for your wonderful service to the College, certainly, but even more, your support to those who have walked its corridors and grounds and sought to make something of themselves, and who are so much more the richer for having met the two of you.
RMC Commandant (2007-09)
Thanks so much for letting the friends of Bill and Rolande have an opportunity to recount some of the many wonderful times and events that we had the pleasure to experience with these two fine folks.
There are so many things that I could talk about at some length involving Bill and Rolande including RMC hockey, Dodger and Red Sox baseball, tennis, West Point, and the comings and goings over many generations of characters at both the RMC Club and Foundation.
My fondest recollections relate however to the aspects of creativity, intelligence gathering, and teamwork that defined this amazing couple.
I was fortunate enough to be on the executive committee of the RMC Club when Bill had just finished some amazing work for the Foundation, including the very successful Legacy Dinner that Bill organized featuring an RMC hockey alumni theme. Bill had an entire book put together for the Dinner which every attendee received. Following that great success the Foundation did not have a similarly challenging task for Bill to take on. The result was that the Club jumped at the opportunity to entice Bill to join its ranks. Very shortly thereafter Bill and Rolande gave birth to e-Veritas and of course the rest is history. My greatest pleasure as President of the RMC Club was to present Bill and Rolande Oliver with the President’s Award at the end of my term.
To this day, e-Veritas is arguably the most successful and long-standing venture that the Club has ever undertaken and it was entirely the dream and the creation of Bill and Rolande. Like passionate endeavours of other creators there have been many occasions over the years when some have suggested tinkering or revising the way in which Bill and Rolande produced e-Veritas. But like most good creators, they kept a firm grip on the vision and the execution, and have been instrumental in delivering this fine product to its many fans and readers. The network of intelligence gathering that permitted Bill and Rolande to come up with the very current and always interesting content on a regular basis for so many years is truly amazing. It could only have been done by this couple, who’s network of friends and collaborators is the most extensive and committed that I have ever known.
Finally I want to speak about the teamwork that was always at play, most often behind the scenes, between Bill and Rolande. These two were absolutely seamless and supported each other in every endeavour that I was fortunate enough to observe.
Thank you Bill and Rolande for your many years of unselfish service which has benefitted so many people and respecting which you should be justly very proud. I have thoroughly enjoyed our friendship and your support. I look forward to following what will no doubt be another interesting chapter in your life’s partnership.
10080 Bob Booth
In 2006, I was going through some personal matters that was likely to lead in my eventual release from the military – I was subsequently sent to a holding platoon while the CoC decided my fate. During that time, I was seconded to the Panet House to support the reunion weekend. During that time, I had some significant interactions with Bill who took the time to get to know me and understand my situation.
During that short time, Bill was able to convince the college to place me with the Panet House to assist in his re-structuring of e-Veritas. It was during this time that Bill took me under his wing, encouraged me to perform to my full potential, and provided me with the mentorship and guidance to overcome some of the obstacles I was to face.
I worked with Bill and Rolande for the better part of 6 months. They took it upon themselves to convince the CoC to offer me one last chance to prove that I was capable and willing to become an officer of the CAF. They guided, shaped, and believed in me when most in their position would not. Long story short, I graduated and have been enjoying a rewarding career as an Infantry Officer and even more rewarding life as a husband and father of two wonderful children.
I learned a great deal from Bill and Rolande – lessons that I still carry forward today and pass along in my own role as a father to my children and mentor to young officers and sr NCOs. They have been there at the pivotal moments in my life, including the celebration of my marriage. Thank you for your continued service and dedication to the students, alumni, and community. You’ve left a lasting impact on me and many others that will be felt for generations.
*As a side note, Bill also taught me how to play tennis which has become our family favourite sporting event. To this day, I’ve not had such a cardio induced tennis match as when I was playing with Bill. The worst part is that whenever we played, he barely broke a sweat and there must have been at least 40 years between us! Thanks for all the lessons, both on and off the court, Bill.*
23439 Maj Kayne Carr
I have known Bill and Rolande for over 18 years. They are very close friends of the Bruni family having helped three Bruni’s through the RMC application process and being mentors to each of them during their time at RMC. It’s no over exaggeration to say that many things in my life would not have been the same if Bill and Rolande hadn’t been involved.
Bill and Rolande first guided me through the application process for RMC, something that was very foreign to me given I had no military experience. When I was accepted and started attending RMC in 2004, Bill was my academic advisor. Bill, Rolande and I would meet frequently during the year to discuss how I was doing at school. It was during these meetings that Bill first brought up the idea that I should apply for the Rhodes Scholarship, a plan that him and my father had been scheming about without my knowledge!
Bill and Rolande’s mentorship led me to apply for the scholarship in my fourth year at RMC. I reached the interview stage but was not awarded the scholarship. Following this, I decided to pursue a two year Masters at RMC in the Chemical Engineering department. It was during these two years that my relationship with Bill and Rolande grew into one of the closet friendships I have. Bill would often beat me at tennis on Sunday mornings or I would meet both Bill and Rolande for coffee, dinner, or if I was really lucky, breakfast at the Oliver place for some of Rolande’s famous quiche!
It was during these visits that Bill suggested that I reapply for the Rhodes Scholarship. At first, I was adamantly against this. I was still getting over the disappointment of losing out on the scholarship and thought the chances were slim to none of winning on a second try. But anyone who knows Bill would not be surprised to hear that he persisted in his efforts to get me to reapply.
Bill and Rolande believed in me when I did not believe in myself. On top of that, they led by example. Everything they were doing in their lives was tied to leadership and service. The opportunity for me to win a Rhodes Scholarship was my opportunity to do the same. With Bill and Rolande’s encouragement and an excellent reference letter authored by them in support of my application, I reapplied for the scholarship. Excitingly, I was awarded the scholarship for tenure at Oxford University from 2010 to 2012, the first RMC student to do so in over 20 years.
Not surprisingly, my years at Oxford were some of the best in my life. Not only did I attend one of the greatest places to learn in the world, I interacted with some of the smartest scholars and built a lifetime of relationships. The scholarship has also led me to many opportunities. I now work at a national law firm and volunteer on the committee in the Prairie provinces to select future Rhodes Scholars. The scholarship has also instilled in me a sense of responsibility to give back. This a philosophy that Bill and Rolande live by and nothing is more evident of this than the work they’ve done with e-veritas to bring us stories every week over the past several years.
Bill and Rolande, my life would have not been the same without your support. Thank you to you both. I hope to one day have half the reputation that you two have for what you have given to RMC. All the best in your retirement and I am looking forward to future dinners (or maybe even breakfasts) in our future!
23988 Gino Bruni
40 year friend
I have known Bill and Rolande for over 40 years meeting them for the first time in Penhold AB where Bill was the BPERO and I a young Major. We played a lot together and against each other on the tennis court, one-wall handball court and on the fastball diamond. Although Bill never played organized basketball, he enjoyed bragging rights in beating me often at the many foul shot marathons we engaged in. Tennis, a sport we both continue to play avidly, is another matter! I think it’s still deuce in the deciding game of the fifth set. Bill is a great athlete, gracious competitor and kind, thoughtful friend. He has poured his heart and soul into making RMC a better place never more evidenced than by the outstanding success of e-Veritas, for which Rolande deserves similar accolades.
Mary and I wish Bill and Rolande continued “life is good” as they crank it down just a notch.
6566 Doug Ross and Mary Trueman
From the moment I met Bill, still a prospective cadet at the time, I knew this man was unmistakably ‘in my corner’. Over the years, both at RMC and beyond, Bill and Rolande have shown unrelenting support for me, and my family. I’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve helped me through tricky situations, or offered wisdom and encouragement through the ups and downs of life.
By far, my favourite memory of Bill concerns a collaborative ‘intervention of sorts’ that we shared when I was in my final year at RMC. I was the CSL of 10 Squadron, and one of my second-year cadets found himself in trouble. Big trouble.
With no tricks up my own sleeves, I did the only thing I could think to do: turn to Bill.
Bill took this cadet under his wing without batting an eye. The two of them spent days upon days together within the walls of Panet House, forming an incredible bond. On one hand, Bill and Rolande nurtured and encouraged this young man during a very daunting time in his life; on the other hand, Bill left no stone unturned in his efforts to help right the wrong that was coming down the pike.
The decision had been made for this cadet to be released from the Canadian Forces – dishonourably. Only the formalities of paperwork remained. For all intents and purposes, the deal was done.
Bill refused to accept defeat for this young man, even at the eleventh hour. He wracked his brain to come up with something, anything that could turn this situation around. And then – he had it.
I will not go into details in all the circumstances but I can say, the decision to expel this cadet was overturned!
This young man had aspired to become an officer in the Canadian Forces from a very young age. All his life’s hopes and dreams hinged on this outcome. Simply put, without Bill, his military career never would have been salvaged. He went on to excel at RMC and beyond. He remains a distinguished Army officer today, having contributed immeasurably to the Canadian Forces. In fact, these days he’s sporting three stripes on his epaulettes as well!
I love this story because it highlights the lengths to which Bill will go to raise others up. In this case, he wouldn’t relent until this cadet’s hopes and dreams were resurrected from the ashes. And to think – this is just one story. One case. One scenario. God alone knows how many lives have been indelibly blessed by this wonderful man – and his most faithful partner in everything, Rolande. I certainly count myself as one.
22545 Shannon Veurink (Travis) – Class of 2003
Bill & Rolande
I am in Scottsdale for a couple of weeks and will miss your March retirement occasion. You both did a wonderful job as the editor of e-Veritas and I can’t think how they will be able to replace the excellence you have provided over a long period of weekly contributions.
Very best wishes to you in your next project. You will be missed.
6588 Stephen Arnold – Class of 1965
I first met Bill Oliver in the fall of 2013 when I was referred to him by Holding Platoon for employment while awaiting an administrative review. As part of the UTPNCM program, I had completed 2 years of a challenging engineering program before a program/trade conflict had impeded my academic progress and well-being.
I spent two years working for Bill Oliver at Panet House and consider it the best time spent during my time at RMC and overall experience in general. Once Bill got familiar with the circumstances of my situation, he became a champion to my cause. His involvement allowed me to finish my degree through distance learning, attend convocation and ultimately resulted in my commissioning to continue my career in the Canadian Armed Forces as an officer. His support and guidance took me from what was arguably a low point in my life and elevated me to attain a positive attitude, optimism and drive to continue to fight for what I believed in. I am forever grateful to Bill and consider myself extremely fortunate to know him.
Wishing Bill and Rolande all the best for their future endeavours. Thanks for everything, for bringing out the very best in people and for continuing to set an example of excellence to aspire to!
M1013 Maurice (Mo) Smart
Greetings from Oz.
What a marvellous legacy you and Rolande leave! You have been responsible for keeping the history and heritage of RMC alive when it otherwise would have become forgotten. With eVeritas you have revived the role of the RMC Revue in recording what goes on at the College and illuminating the activities of the alumni – but in a new and far more relevant form. Add to this your efforts to keep the Club membership growing and numerous other positive activities. WOW!!!
I hope that you will continue to be active in your support of the Club and Foundation. Both need you! You have been the continuity over some difficult years and have been a major factor in keeping them vibrant, connected to the College and alumni, and ensuring that they have their feet firmly planted in today’s world.
I’ll be home on 15 March. Let’s get together.
H4459 Ed Murray – Class of 1959
I applaud the initiative to honour and celebrate Bill’s and Rolande’s manifold outstanding contributions to the RMC Club, the cadets and ex-cadets. Through their stewardship as co-editors and contributors to eVeritas, they became the face of Canada’s military colleges. They shepherded eVeritas through its many evolutions keeping ahead of and embracing technology and cultural transformation and diversity. eVeritas is both informative and oft entertaining and always relevant and professional. Bill and Rolande will be sorely missed. They are a veritable outstanding, exemplary couple! I much enjoyed the occasions I had to work with them. We all wish them well. Their contributions and legacy are enduring.
6560 Andrew Nellestyn Class of 1965
BILL and ROLANDE OLIVER – Creators, Editors, and Publishers EXTRAORIDINAIRE!
e-Veritas is your baby. You conceived it, created it, and grew it to what it has become: an outstanding chronicle of so much of the past and present activities at RMC, Royal Roads, and CMR, our alumni, and so much more.
It has been and remains a very fine communication vehicle and a joy for all of us who have the privilege of seeing and reading this product of so much of your time and effort.
As I have said a few times, e-Veritas is the best in its class and if there were awards given for content, quality, and excellence, you would, without doubt, be on the top tier of the podium.
Those of us who have been subject to your “gentle persuasion” to contribute material for publication know of your exceptional devotion to e-Veritas. We could reach out to you with questions “24/7” and you were always there for us and respond so promptly. You made cooperation so easy.
You have also for so many years served in the background as a font of knowledge about everything concerning the College and its alumni. I confess to using you too often as an information source. Thank you for all your help, Bill.
And now a well-earned retirement is on the horizon for you, Bill and Rolande. ENJOY … and THANK YOU!
3201 Austen (Aus) Cambon – Class Secretary, Class of RR’52/RMC’54
Rolande & Bill’s retirement
Unfortunately, I cannot make it – but if you can please pass on my thanks to Bill (Oliver) for all the support he gave me and my team as we created and brought the Wall of Honour to fruition.
5846 Peter Watson – Class of 1963
I am sure that Bill Griffis and all the former Executive Directors will thank you for your outstanding and underpaid efforts in this regard. I would like to join the chorus and offer my most sincere appreciation for both being a subject of some or the articles but also for the leadership you both demonstrated to make eVeritas such a huge success and a “must read ”weekly publication. Well done on a stellar team performance
You were and have always been a leader that put the needs of his subordinates first. Since our time together at RMC, I have seen this same trait reflected over the many years as eVeritas editor, in the way you managed your team, many of whom were Officer-Cadets that were assigned to Panet House a various stage of their RMC posting. You always took them under your wing were always very concerned about their welfare and their next step in their careers, especially those that may have been facing adversity.
Over the past 30 years, our relationship has blossomed into a warm and trusting friendship, for which I have truly enjoyed and honoured with the highest of regard. I join with my wife Michelle and on behalf of the entire RMC Class of ‘83in wishing you and Rolande all the very best in the next phase of your life.
13846 Kevin Bryski, OMM, CD Colonel (retired) RMC Class of ‘83
I am disappointed that I am unfortunately unable to attend – we are in the midst of playoffs here in Russia in the KHL. But I am pleased to provide a short vignette of my association with Bill and Rolande.
It was way back in the mid 1980’s when I was blessed to meet one of the greatest guys of all time – Major William Oliver. Immediately I was able to associate with someone who would become a great role model for me in all facets of life (father, husband, ‘man in charge’, friend, confidant…..to name a few); a great mentor; and most valuably in my eyes, a great friend. The nice thing too was that it was not only Major Bill who became a part of my life, but also Rolande, also of which I am extremely grateful.
You cannot imagine the number of times I try to think what Major Bill would say or do when I find myself in a particular instance. ‘How would Major Bill handle this?’ ’What would Major Bill say to this guy?’ Am I standing as erectly and proudly during the National Anthem as Major Bill always did to O Canada?
As a coach with Canada’s Men’s National Team, we visited Kingston to play the OUAA All Stars and our players and staff were guests of RMC…..Major Bill’s visits to various hockey schools and clinics that I was involved with……Bill honouring us with his presence as a coach and counselor of the Wayne Gretzky Coca Cola Classic Hockey Camp…..dealing with Bill at the OUA Hockey Coaches’ meetings along with the the CIAU Hockey Championships
Major Bill and Rolande….I love you guys! Have a great day celebrating and know I’ll be thinking of you way out here in Russia!!!
Mike Pelino – professional hockey coach – currently in the KHL
Bill and Rolande Oliver –e-Veritas Retirement
I am writing to congratulate Bill and Rolande on their retirement as editors of e-Veritas.
Their stewardship of e-Veritas both in terms of quality and prodigious output has contributed greatly to RMC and the RMC Club. Although Bill and Rolande have become known more recently as the editors of e-Veritas, I would like to recognize their work on behalf of RMC in several other areas. When I arrived at the College in the summer of 1996 to begin my five years as the head coach of the hockey Redmen, I bumped into Bill at the SAM Centre. After some discussion, Bill offered to help me with recruiting student-athletes to the hockey program.
Bill and Rolande quickly developed a very effective recruiting program that not only identified potential candidates but as importantly aided those candidates in successfully navigating the CF/RMC recruiting process. In my opinion, Bill and Rolande’s recruiting efforts on behalf of the hockey team were the primary factor in the team’s modest successes from 1996-2001 which included shutting out West Point in 2000, winning three Carr-Harris Cup games and in recording RMC’s only OUA play-off victories in history (3) which included a two-game series sweep over Queens.
To varying degrees ,Bill and Rolande were able to expand their recruiting help to other varsity teams. Most notably, the men’s basketball team became highly competitive and qualified for the OUA play-offs for the only time in its history. Again, Bill and Rolande deserve much of the credit for that success.
Of course, the more important and lasting fruits of Bill and Rolande’s student-athlete recruiting are just now being born. Many of “their’ student-athletes are beginning to assume ever more senior roles within the CF and in society in general. I believe it is safe to say that most of them would tell you that they owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Bill and Rolande for their indispensable help in getting to and graduating from RMC.
I would be remiss if I also did not touch on Bill’s work as the Commissioner of OUA Hockey. Bill was universally respected by all OUA coaches for his fairness and level-headed approach. Bill was primarily responsible for Team Canada conducting a post-Christmas training camp at RMC in 1999 and in organizing games against two OUA divisional all-star teams.
Although impartial, Bill always ensured that RMC players and coaches were not forgotten during such special events. During my time as coach of the hockey team, Bill and Rolande were tremendous colleagues, mentors and most importantly friends.
Although I left Canada nearly 20 years ago, I continue to count Bill and Rolande among my closest friends. I would like to close by thanking them again for all their endeavors on behalf of RMC, the RMC Club and me personally. Congratulations on a job well done and warmest wishes for the future.
14080 Major (Ret’d) A.A. Scott, CD, ChPC, P.Eng – Class of 1983
Dear Bill and Rolande
How wonderful and sad it was to learn that both of you are about to embark on the next phase of your lives together. Wonderful for the reason that both of you have earned this rite of passage about 1000 times over. Sad to learn that your involvement in and around the College and with e-Veritas in particular, will no longer have your wisdom, guidance and leadership. I am very sorry I was not able to join you for your celebration.
While I was on the Executive Committee and during my time as President, I stood in wonder every single day, year over year, at your dedication, commitment and innovation. Your obvious respect and love for the College was evident in everything you did for so many years.
Well known across the College and Alumni, you have permanently and positively made a contribution to the future of this country. Well liked and respected by the Cadets, I would watch, during Reunion Weekends, as you were greeted by everyone, observing your wonderfully characteristic smile. That smile that immediately put people at ease and shined out, instantly brightening the day and lifting others.
Rolande and Bill – you simply can not think of one without the other. The passion each of you shared for your work, which really was a labour of love, and for each other is inspiring. It is my hope that should I be privileged to have even 1/8th of that same energy, devotion and passion, I would be twice the person I am today, but not even come close to your example.
As you transition, may I take the time to say thank you. While these words fall very short of the gratitude and esteem in which you are held, they do express the lasting impression that will be left on me personally and on the entire organisation as a collective.
Both of you have done your duty honourably and have set a very solid example of service before self. Something to emulate and something that is rarely seen today, but is much needed in the world. You brought hope to those with whom you interacted and left all who had the good fortune to work with you, better for the experience.
As a sailor, I can think of no greater compliment then to say well done and Bravo Zulu.
I wish you much health, happiness and success in your next phase.
Truly, it was a pleasure to work with you and your contributions will never be forgotten.
Fair winds and following seas,
19307 Captain Dave Benoit, RCN
I live in Seeley’s Bay (30 minutes outside Kingston) and would certainly attend this function, were I not irrevocably committed to co-facilitating conflict management courses on Base all of the week in question.
I am very admiring of and thankful for Bill and Rolande’s commendable long-term commitment to the Club…to publishing of e-veritas in particular.
7660 Martin Hankes-Drielsma – Class of 1968
Bill was probably one of the 3 most influential people in my life growing up. He was a master of creatively working within the system… He actually helped me make the move from ROTP to RETP which had life-changing effects for me in retrospect. What I learned from him is to advocate for yourself powerfully, and respectfully not take ‘no’ for an answer. Likely great characteristics for a career in business! Bill has always been a lighthouse of common-sense and a wealth of experience.
Thanks Bill and Rolande – and I look forward to keeping in touch – the College isn’t the same without you!
22259 Adrian Travis
I remember a funny story about a trip Bill, Rolande and Danny had to an RMC dinner in Toronto, probably the Toronto Branch. Danny at that time was working for Taylor Cadillac and always drove the latest and greatest Cadillac with all the bells and whistles. I was not with them at that time, although I usually did go. Bill ended up driving. They got to Toronto and parked outside the place where they were going to dinner.
They attended the dinner for 3 or four hours and when they came out the car lights were on and the motor was running. Bill thought “Boy this is really some car, even with the keys in my pocket it starts.” They got in the car and realized it had been running all the time they were at dinner. Bill was not used to a car that you did not need the key to turn it off and on. He had left it running all that time and they were almost out of gas. Bill and Danny had a bit of a discussion who would pay for the new tank of gas and I understand that Bill managed to win. (He must drive a hard bargain) They drove on home with no more incidents. It was a story they often liked to tell. I’m not sure what Rolande thought of it all.
It has been a long and memorable friendship we have had with Bill and Rolande. Danny was very fond of Bill, and Rolande and I hit it off together famously.
RMC will miss their presence at Panet House. They have been faithful supporters of every aspect of the College. Rolande and I keep in touch at the Ladies Lunches faithfully.
I consider Bill and Rolande very special friends.
WH25917 Sheila McLeod – widow of Danny McLeod
Bill Oliver Retirement Wishes
I had the great pleasure of working with Bill for nearly four years at the Club. Throughout, I valued Bill for his inspirational work ethic, prodigious productivity, as well as his frank advice, mentorship, and sincere friendship.
I am glad that it worked out that way as I was not certain how long Bill was going to remain with the Club when I arrived in 2013. I clearly recall that in our first meeting learning that he was committed to staying on as far as Reunion Weekend following which he would re-evaluate the situation. This took me by surprise as I had just figured out that, to use a sports metaphor, Bill had put me on waivers. Needless to say, I for one was happy that Bill outlasted me and stayed on for another six years.
While there are many to pick from, here are three of my favourite Bill Oliverisms which also serve to offer excellent advice:
#1: “Our best issue, the next one!”
This is indicative of Bill’s drive to continually innovate and improve. He always refused to rest on his laurels or be tempted by complacency.
#2: “No is the second best answer.”
Most of you will not be surprised that Bill has always been an accomplished hustler who thrives in a business or sports team environment. When he was involved in a fundraising campaign or membership drive, Bill would often trot out this truism which, more often than not, served to close the deal without him having to expend further time and energy. As well, he demonstrated that accepting rejection was not an impediment to being successful.
#3: “I am a bean grower…not a bean counter”
Again, Bill has an exceptionally well ingrained entrepreneurial spirit. He differentiates himself from those who are more inclined to manage than personally produce product. I certainly respect Bill for this trait which has served him and the Club exceptionally well for decades.
Despite the fact that Bill kept an empty squeezable Mayonnaise container in his office to remind him that there was always a newer and better way of doing things, Bill could be rather set on how he delivered eVeritas. A case in point, I suggested that continuing to produce 49 or 50 eVeritas editions annually was not necessary and to do so each Monday ensured that he sacrificed every weekend. Needless to say, Bill continued to do exactly as he had before without fail and for good reason. He was correct that the readership had come to expect and appreciate a weekly product. Furthermore, he knew that Monday was the best day to publish given that many events took place on weekends and it would therefore not be stale or dated.
Legacy – Bill & Rolande. Bill should be justifiably proud of eVeritas which he still humbly considers to be a kitchen table production. His dedication and passion have been the keys to his success over so many years. He was often introduced as Mr. eVeritas by many including former Commandants which was a huge and appropriate compliment. Without a doubt, Bill and the incredibly supportive Rolande, are the founders of one of the finest alumni newsletters in the world. eVeritas has become the essential communication tool for the Club, the Foundation, cadets, alumni, and military colleges. Everyone turns to eVeritas to see what is happening at the Colleges. In addition, Bill always ensured that there was something for everyone in every issue. While not as obvious, Bill’s sustained efforts have left a living, digital chronicle which captures the history and evolution of the Colleges and their remarkable graduates. Lastly, Bill’s business and fundraising instincts, coupled with his personal stock and wealth of personal connections, have kept the Club financially solvent over the years which is a far greater challenge than most would expect and for that we should all be thankful.
Bill is universally well regarded and known by cadets and Old Brigaders alike and most in between. Blessed with a heart of gold, he has been an exceptional friend and steadying influence to so many. I know that I am not alone in hoping that Bill and Rolande will enjoy an exceptionally well earned retirement and that they will continue to remain connected to the Club, Colleges, and their graduates. I personally wish Bill the very best and hope that there will be “green bananas” in his future for some time to come.
With much respect,
13987 Bryan Bailey, former RMC Club Executive Director
Dear Rolande and Bill
As you depart I would just like to say how much I have appreciated your hard work and common sense keeping the Club on an even keel throughout what were sometimes turbulent times! I always knew who to phone to get a straight answer! You both will be missed.
All the best in your future endeavours!
5757 Mike Morres former Club President – Class of 1963
Good morning Bill,
I heard your retirement is tomorrow! I’m not sure how much of you I’ll be seeing around the Panet House (if any), so I thought I’d write to you to wish you good luck and say thank you for everything you had taught me during our short time writing together.
Little things like starting everything with Earle or introducing me to e-Veritas have gone a long way, and I look forward to seeing some of your “pearls of wisdom” (for lack of a better term) take effect as I finish my time at RMC and start my military career.
Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you further on down the road.
28560 OCdt (II) Bennett Dickson – 1 Squadron
Dear Bill and Rolande:
Due to other commitments, I unfortunately was not able to attend the farewell lunch for you today. However, as we have worked closely together over the past several years on various contributions to e-Veritas, I wanted to take this opportunity to send greetings from Toronto, and express a few words of thanks to both of you for your hard work with e-Veritas, and for the many other contributions you have made to RMC.
I think everyone who is present here today, as well as just about everyone else who reads e-Veritas on a regular basis, would join me in saying that you have done an absolutely phenomenal job with the publication. It has been a pleasure working with you, and I have been happy to contribute what I could when time and circumstances have permitted. I realize that some of my past submissions have expressed views that certain readers might have considered to be somewhat controversial, but nonetheless, I have always appreciated your willingness to consider my views with an open mind, and feature them in e-Veritas for comment by our readership.
What I have particularly enjoyed and appreciated about e-Veritas has been the success you have achieved in managing to make our readers aware of many little known but important aspects of the College’s history, and of the many and varied accomplishments of the Ex-Cadets who have passed through the institution over the years. In this respect, I feel that the impact e-Veritas has had has been particularly unique and significant. As a graduate of McGill and Western, I receive alumni publications on a regular basis, and I’ve seen other examples of the kinds of these publications that are produced by other leading Canadian universities. In my view, at least, none of these have ever managed to come even remotely close to e-Veritas in terms of their effectiveness in portraying the unique aspects of the spirit and culture of the institutions they represent.
As you have vividly demonstrated, there in only one Royal Military College of Canada, and through its many years of service, it has proven itself to an essential and invaluable part of our country’s history, and of our identify as Canadians.
I am sorry I could not be there today with you, but I believe there are some other people in the room who do know me personally, including #11766 Jim Doherty, who was in third year in my squadron in 1976, who was a great role model and mentor to the recruits of that year, and who I was very pleased to reconnect with last year, directly as a result of e-Veritas. That’s but one small example of the impact the publication has had, and an illustration of the importance of the role it has come to play in terms of helping all of us remain connected with the College that has been such an important part of our lives.
It has been a pleasure and indeed a real privilege to have worked with you over the years, and as you prepare to move forward to the next stage of your lives, I would like to wish you and your family the best of good health and happiness. Your contributions to RMC represent the very best of the spirit of “Truth, Duty, Valour” that the College stands for, and always will stand for. I hope you can take some satisfaction in the knowledge that your efforts made an important difference, and that they will be remembered, and gratefully appreciated, by the College’s Ex-Cadets for many years to come.
Wishing you the best, I remain,
Mike Kennedy, No. 12570 – Brock Squadron, 1976-77
Bill and Rolande,
Congratulations on your retirement from your dedicated and most treasured position shaping the future of RMC, the CAF, the Foundation and the Club. I am sure none of us could find anything in your job description that highlights all of those things you did to help any of us join the military and be accepted to RMC. Your names and certainly your actions are synonymous with the culture and history of one of the greatest Canadian institutions.
On a personal note, if it weren’t for the both of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Whether it was a quick visit up north, a phone call with the Bulldog or hosting a young recruit at the Panet house so they could seek some reprieve from the demands of recruit term you have always been truly special to me and my family. Thank you so much!
I wish you both all the best in your future endeavours and hopefully with all of your free time we can find a way for us to get together once again over meal.
22417 LCol Mark and the Lachapelle family
Dear Bill & Rolande,
I just saw this article in the newsletter.
I will not be able to attend the farewell luncheon to held tomorrow in your honour (and probably couldn’t even make on time now even if I wanted to!).
You have done a great job, particularly when you lassoed one of your protégées to help me show my godson around RMC in summer of 2016 when he was seeking his way forward.
13075 Matthew Berry – Kosice – Slovakia
Hi Bill and Rolande,
Maggie and I send you heartfelt good wishes as you move into retirement mode. We are sorry we are unable to attend your sendoff in person.
What a positive and enduring legacy you leave the Colleges. It has been such a great experience relating to our RMC through eVeritas and your combined energies that made the Colleges come alive, What a wonderful and amazing commitment you have made to their well-being.
You leave us grateful for your hard work.
I will retain fond memories of your interest in the personal touch dealing with any issues that happened to come up. I was touched also by your attendance at the Birchall Award dinner in Hamilton in Nov 2017 – given all the College activities you support and promote, and the inevitable personal cost hat goes with it, that effort was special for me.
I salute you both, you have our huge respect and admiration, and wish you continued good health in your next phase.
5337 Bob Carr – President Hamilton Branch
Bill and Rolande know more Cadets and Ex-Cadets than any other couple on the planet. They have been the glue that holds this far-flung family together. Whenever I needed advice on canoe crew selection I would ask Bill. He always had time to chat and was unfailingly helpful. Every single one of the men and women he recommended was outstanding. Bill and Rolande were always there in Merrickville when the big canoe passed through, and again in Kingston to welcome us. I’m sad that they are retiring. I hoped that we could all go on forever. Au revoir mes amis – et merci mille fois.
H8788 Geoff Bennett, le bourgeois de la chasse-galerie 2000-2016
Parents of 3 Ex Cadets
We have known Major O and Rolande for close to 20 years. I can remember my first discussions with Major O about our oldest son Jesse and his desire to play hockey and go to university. Bill’s guidance was incredible with Jesse and also with Amanda and Gino who also attended RMC. Bill and Rolande were so kind and generous with their time to us and to each of our children and always welcomed our entire family when we visited Kingston. We still remember our oldest being admitted to KGH with mono and both Bill and Rolande acting as surrogate parents. This is just one example of so many things they have done for our children and for other cadets. They have a special relationship with our son Gino. Bill’s mentorship and friendship with Gino was second to none.
As well special memories of our incredible trips to WestPoint with our friend Danny McLeod.
Bill and Rolande were a team in all aspects. A special couple. They will be sorely missed. Knowing Bill and Rolande they will still be around. We congratulate you on a long run and thank you so much for your positive impact on our family and so many others.
Michael and Janice Bruni
Salty Dits for Bill & Rolande Oliver
I’m not sending an emotion-laced email because everyone in attendance already knows in spades what great folks Bill and Rolande are. Instead, I offer a couple of personal observations from my years on staff at RMCC from 2003 through 2011.
I first met Bill shortly after arriving at RMCC as, with all ex-Cadets, I wandered into Panet House to say hello. I would eventually meet Rolande some time later but it soon became evident that she was equally busy behind the scenes. If I recall correctly she was responsible for translating most, if not all, the articles that appeared in Veritas! No small feat!
My first job at RMCC was Special Assistant to the Commandant. The day I returned from Christmas leave in January 2004 I was advised that I now had the West Point Weekend file due to the sudden departure of the person who normally coordinated it – and, oh by the way, the exchange is in a few weeks. Bill was key in helping me understand the process, what was required and providing me the necessary background and contacts to ensure that the centrepiece hockey game went off without a hitch. Of course, if I failed to mention Major Danny McLeod’s continuing contributions to this event I’d never be forgiven. Bill, Rolande and many others at the RMCC Club and Foundation were key in helping both nations celebrate the 75th RMCC-West Point hockey game in Kingston in 2006 and in helping the College and West Point continue the exchange.
It was early on during one of my visits to Panet House that Bill got to asking about my background. Turns out he’d been posted to CFB Penhold as one of the PERI staff in the 70s and remembered my dad! Small world.
From 2007 to 2011 I worked as Deputy Director of Cadets and Chief of Staff. All along I continued to see the benefits to the College and the Cadet Wing writ-large that the Olivers made. But in addition to their very public contributions they also made very important and personal contributions to a number of individuals that largely went unnoticed. I’m referring of course to the very personal efforts they put into assisting those who for what ever reasons weren’t able to keep pace with the demands of the College. The tribute in eVeritas has already explained it in some detail so I won’t say anything more except that in many cases their personal interest in these individuals probably did more to help them along and find themselves than did the vast majority of the other services available at the College. There was always an Officer Cadet with a digital camera recording events be they the Wednesday morning Wing Walks around Fort Henry and over to Wolfe Island, the parades, mess dinners, spin-a-thons, talent shows, lectures in Currie Hall, etc. These Officer & Naval Cadets also wrote the stories that chronicled College Life!
As COS I inherited the overall coordination responsibilities for Grad Week and Reunion Weekend. I could always count on Bill to be present and contributing at those ‘whole of College’ committee meetings. Museum stuff – monuments & memorials? Yes, Bill was involved along with the RMC Foundation, Ross McKenzie and several ex-Commandants.
The College, and indeed many of the Officer and Naval Cadets and staff who have passed through here in the past 40 years or so, are very fortunate to have had Bill & Rolande in their lives.
I wish them both Fair Winds and Following Seas!
– RRMC 13789 – sends from Victoria!
4 year e-Veritas Officer Cadet volunteer
I first started working with Bill Oliver in my first year when I became a writer for e-veritas. Throughout my years of knowing him, however, I think he became more than just an editor. For one, he helped me secure interviews with a number of high profile ex-cadets, including the CDS and General (Ret’d) Walt Natyncyzk. Moreover, he was a mentor and was always willing to share his decades of wisdom, even when he probably knew I wasn’t listening. That being said, Bill was incredibly patient, understanding, and never dismissive of my concerns. Most of all, what I appreciated working with a man several decades my senior, was his ability to put my “officer-cadet” problems, concerns, and worries into perspective that a 20 year old didn’t have the insight to understand.
I know that in his lengthy career at RMC, Bill has worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of cadets and made deep impacts in their lives, whether it was during his time as athletics director, his work with the RMC Club, or as the driving force behind e-veritas. Many of the people that he mentored as cadets have since had successful careers both in and out of the military. What impresses me most about Bill is how much of his time and energy he’s invested in RMC, how much he goes out of his way to help the cadets and how willing he is to share his experience and provide us with guidance. Furthermore, he has been a champion for the school’s varsity programs and clubs. Bill Oliver, perhaps more than anybody that I’ve ever met, has always taken a keen interest in the cadet wing and their development. He recognizes the importance of providing mentorship to the young cadets and has always been someone to look towards the future for inspiration.
When Bill told me last semester that he was planning on retiring, I honestly didn’t believe it. Clearly indicative of his commitment to the College, it seemed like Bill had just as much passion and energy as ever. As far as I was concerned, he was still at the top of his game and would be long after I graduated. However, there always comes a time for everything to end. Clearly, the time for Bill to start writing a new chapter. Bill, thank you for helping to make not only a better writer, but for the opportunities that you provided me through e-veritas, for your mentorship, and for your friendship. I wish you and Rolande the best of luck on your next adventure.
OCdt Pablo Cardona
29 year friendship
I just heard that Bill and Rolande Oliver were stepping away from their full-time support at RMC and the Foundation.
I am sad I am unable to attend their farewell luncheon, but hope that you can share this with Bill, or even read it out loud at the event.
I first met Bill in late August 1990 as a recruit cadet during the Recruit Families BBQ when were were allotted 2 hours of time with our visiting families and friends before returning to our gruelling Recruit Term schedule. Bill had very kind words to say to my friends who drove to visit me from Toronto. The impression he made has lasted in their memories since then. Bill is that kind of guy.
He always had a kind word to say, was helpful and supportive. He was kind mentor during my time at RMC as a varsity athlete, wrestling and playing rugby.
Even when I returned to the college as a Division Commander, 16 years after graduation, Bill still remembered me. Now as a Division Commander, he was able to provide perspective and sage advice to new staff. More importantly, Bill and Rolande provided guidance, support and care for the cadets they saw at Panet House. For many of the cadets that came to work for them, their leadership example offered a complement to the lessons they were learning in other parts of the college. Their compassion for those cadets going through the difficult transition from the cadet wing back to civilian life afforded young Canadians a chance to feel a renewed hope; something those young people needed as they left their friends on the peninsula to pursue new horizons.
Bill and Rolande’s legacy holds a tangible place in the hearts of the cadets and staff they touched while at RMC. Invaluable as supporters of the red and white teams, beyond measure their effect on the gentleman and lady cadets that passed through the Arch, their support stretched out even to classes of Ex-Cadets.
Thank you, Bill and Rolande for all of your time, your effort, passion, and professionalism.
With great respect and gratitude,
Roman “Bear” Antoniewicz