Parents of e-Veritas volunteers speak from their hearts

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A core lifeline which has ensured the survival of e-veritas over the past 11 years has been the solid volunteer support from cadets. This year three of the best are now in IV Year and only a few months from graduating. We hope that this early article is not a jinx.

The parents of 4th Year E-Veritas Staff, OCdts Denice Zoretich (Photographer), Erik St-Gelais (Photographer) and Danielle Andela (Writer) reflect on the journey they’ve supported their children through at RMC.

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OCdt Denice Zoretich (26573) IV

MWO Mark Zoretich and Katholeen Zoretich – Father and Mother of Denice Zoretich

1) How are you feeling seeing your daughter coming so close to finals and then on to Graduation Week?

It’s quite an exciting mixture of happiness and relief. It’s been a long journey to get to this point, with many highs and lows, and to see her achieving such a difficult goal makes us proud.

2) How have you supported your daughter over the past three years at RMC?

As she was a single parent, we helped by keeping her son with us so she would have one less hurdle on the path to success. She was able to use the time to concentrate on her studies and on RMC life. but still see him regularly. Those visits were always provided a little burst of energy for her as well. Another way we helped was to act as a sounding board as she navigated through the transformation from civilian to military life. She was able to ask advice on the workings of the military, drawing on my experience with different styles of leadership and the differences between the NCOs and the Officers.

3) What are you going to miss and what are you looking forward to when your daughter becomes commissioned and posted elsewhere?

As she has always been the type of person who was happiest when she could be focused on workplace, carrying out tasks assigned to her and solving the many different problems that came her way. We are glad to see that she will finally be able to start her career in her chosen field. We will miss the close proximity we currently have (I’ve been posted to Halifax, with her likely posted to Trenton) but as we all know, the military lifestyle will likely bring us closer together again.

4) Are you attending Graduation Weekend? If so what is the part you are looking forward to the most?

Yes, we will be there, especially for that final march through the arch. We know we’re all looking forward to receiving her first salute from her father for the first time as a commissioned officer. Additionally, there will be some extended family coming in who have never even seen her in uniform, so I know the pageantry of both the sunset ceremony and the graduation parade will be quite the experience for both her grandmothers.

5) What final words do you have to describe the emotions you feel looking back at the past three years of blood, sweat and tears put forward by your daughter?

We feel that through hard work and sacrifice, she can be more than proud of her accomplishments. We didn’t experience them in the same way as she had but we can feel it as well. Of course, the overwhelming feeling will be satisfaction that this long first step in her new career will be behind her and she can move on to even more challenges in the forces.

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OCdt Erik St-Gelais (26267) IV

Lisa MacDougall – Mother of Erik St-Gelais

1) How are you feeling seeing your son coming so close to finals and then Graduation Week?

I am feeling so very proud of Erik for having reached his goals.

2) How have you supported your son over the past few years at RMC?

We are a relatively small family but we have all been there supporting Erik in whatever way he needed – sometimes a phone call to just talk about everything except RMC and sometimes brainstorming ideas for essays. We have, on occasion, sent a little extra cash for those late night Tim Hortons runs or dinner as a treat. Erik’s sister, Jodi, and I have proofread many essays. There were many care packages sent, including an apple pie, so that Erik could have a little taste of home. Erik is very connected to family and values that connection deeply. I know there are times he was too busy to call or connect and he felt guilty, as a result. The whole family encouraged him to take care of what he needed to do and not to worry that we were upset if he was unable to call and talk as much as he would have liked. He has had a solid team of supporters behind him.

3) What are you going to miss and what are you looking forward to when your son becomes a commissioned and posted elsewhere?

I very much enjoyed visiting Kingston. I felt very much at home there. I will miss those visits. What I am most looking forward to when Erik is commissioned and posted elsewhere is the opportunity to visit new and interesting places, as his career progresses. I am especially looking forward for Erik to begin his career. I believe he will do great things in the future. He has a strong desire to help others and I can see him being a kind and understanding leader – one who gains the respect of his peers.

4) Are you attending Graduation Weekend? If so, what is the part you are looking forward to the most?

Yes. I would not miss it for the world. His sister will be attending with me. Unfortunately, Erik’s grandparents are not able to travel to the graduation. I know they are disappointed that they cannot be there but will be rooting for him from home, as will his stepfather. I have heard about graduation many times over the past few years. I believe the Sunset Ceremony will be beautiful. For me, just knowing that Erik has accomplished what he set out to do is everything.

5) What final words do you have to describe the emotions you feel looking back at the past 3 years of blood, sweat and tears put forward by your son?

RMC is not the average university experience. So much more is expected of the students. I do believe that they learn more about themselves, and others, during the course of their studies than at a regular university. Having watched Erik’s journey from the front row, I feel immense pride in his accomplishments. I can see a great deal of personal growth in Erik. I come from a military family and have grown up with a good understanding of what Canada’s military members do and the sacrifices they make for their country. This, too, incites pride in his family. RMC has presented Erik with many challenges, from the obstacle course through to graduation. With perseverance and determination he has held course. I am so very happy for him and love him so very much.

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OCdt Danielle Andela (26659) IV

John and Nicola Andela – Father and Mother of Danielle Andela

1) How are you feeling seeing your daughter coming so close to finals and then on to Graduation Week?

Both a sense of pride and relief that she has seen a very demanding four years through to a successful conclusion. I am excited that it coming to an end and she can embark on the next stage of her life and build a satisfying career in the Canadian Force. This journey has not just been for the past 4 years as it began as a 13 year old air cadet when she determined that a career in the forces was what she wanted.

2) How have you supported your daughter over the past three years at RMC?

Hopefully affirming and instilling confidence in her own abilities to deal with complex and sometimes difficult situations with integrity and competence. On occasion simply being there to listen when steam needed to be vented. Mainly by being available to talk whenever she needed to discuss concerns or even just blow off steam. Helping to work through issues and concerns regardless of whether the problems needing to be solved or put into perspective were personal, academic or military related

3) What are you going to miss and what are you looking forward to when your daughter becomes commissioned and posted elsewhere?

I don’t know yet!? I’m looking forward to having her come home to visit as frequently as she currently can along with getting to know her squadron mates and the people who are supporting her. I look forward to hearing about her experiences and relationships as she transitions into the adult world.

4) Are you attending Graduation Weekend? If so what is the part you are looking forward to the most?

Yes! Probably no particular event or part. Taking in the entire experience is probably what I’m looking forward most. Truthfully the Sunset Ceremony is probably the most exciting part of Grad weekend, I love seeing the demonstrations from the different groups and clubs that make up the RMC experience.

5) What final words do you have to describe the emotions you feel looking back at the past three years of blood, sweat and tears put forward by your daughter?

It is somewhat unnatural for a father to leave his daughter behind in the middle of barracks with a “see you later kiddo”. Immensely gratifying however to see your ‘kiddo’ grow up in record time to become a fine, confident and competent professional. We are incredibly proud that she has been able to reach her goals in an extremely challenging environment.

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