Ray Hook: 3rd Cass Galerie voyage – “a no brainer”

Caption: Ray Hook – standing near H4860 John de Chastelain who is holding the bagpipes.

E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed 8926 LCol (Ret`d) Ray Hook (RRMC RMC 1971), one of 13 Ex-Cadets & two officer cadets who will raise money for their Class gift to the College on their entry into the Old Brigade this fall paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston in September, 2016 in time to arrive at the College for the annual Legacy Diner. You can make a donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.  The Class of ’71 has sponsored the H25917 Maj. Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund since they set it up in 2005 and it is open to all who love sports and wish to support the College programs. The Class of 71 has made it their cause to greatly increase the fund this fall by looking for donations in support of the crew – all Ex cadets, and seven of whom are from the Class of ‘71.

Victoria Edwards: This is your third ex-cadet fund-raising canoe trip down the Rideau. What gave you the idea?

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Ray Hook: The idea to join the crew was simple – Bennett (8788 Geoff Bennett) asked me to join up, and I was in! As for the money side – in 2004 our Class was looking for a cause to support our fund raising plans. As Class Sec, I put out to the Class the idea of creating an Athletic Endowment. Given my past fund raising experience, I figured that an endowment fund would be ideal – it would always be there to support College Athletics and anyone could support this fund. We didn’t have to think very hard about whose name we could use for naming the fund, and after a very short chat, H25917 Maj. Danny McLeod accepted our request to use his name for the fund. The rest is history. I have participated in the 2006 and 2011 trips down the Rideau, and it was a “no brainer” to join 8788 Geoff Bennett’s crew again for our last voyage. Throughout my military and civilian careers, I have always believed in leading by example and leading from the front, so to speak. As class secretary, it was a simple decision to join the crew. With six other classmates on board, we will be the largest contingent on the trip, and one to be proud of. I am really looking forward to this trip, especially to spend some time with close friends on a common goal.

Victoria Edwards: How does your role as bartender on the canoe trip in 2006 and 2011 impact on crew morale?

Ray Hook: I can sum it up by saying that my influence is greatest when I control the timing of the daily issue. I would say that the crew’s morale is critical to the rigors that we will experience, as the paddling can be a bit of a marathon effort. In 2006, we encountered a lot of dangerous headwinds and too much rain, so this daily issue did have a tremendously positive experience on the crew’s morale.  On the nicer days, the tot went very well with our cook’s (9143 Bruce McAlpine) outstanding portable cappuccino maker!  In 2011, it wasn’t as important as sun screen.

Victoria Edwards: Why is it important to you to support RMC`s Athletic Endowment Fund, which was named in honour of H25917 Major Danny McLeod?

Ray Hook: I was attracted to Royal Roads and RMC for athletics first and academics second. I support RMC`s Athletic Endowment Fund in order to pick up the funding shortfall (which is typical in all of Canada’s universities) and give cadets the same experience or better than I enjoyed at Military College. I played varsity rugby and hockey at Roads; varsity rugby and Intra Mural hockey at RMC.  Although we didn’t win a lot of games as a small College competing against much larger schools, we were always in better physical condition than many of our opponents, and we always gave it our best effort every time that we put on our RMC jerseys. I was always very proud of our team efforts in every game. One of my most vivid memories as kicker/prop in the scrum is our defeat at the hands of the Royal Military College at Shrivenham UK (RMCS) in my fourth year. RMC had been invited by the Commandant of RMC S to send a team to play RMC S, following his visit to RMC the previous year (1970). So, we went! We were told afterwards that the RMC S fielded their “seconds” to play us, as they figured “What do Canadians know about rugby anyway?”.  After we pushed their scrum all over the field in the first half, and held the score quite close, there were a surprising number of “replacements” from RMC S that took the field after the break. That in itself was a testament to the type of athlete that RMC produces – full of character, drive and dedication. We lost the game 24 -12, but the compliments that we received from our opponents after the game over a beer or seven, was quite remarkable, such that I always hold fond memories of our team’s performance and drive. This is why the DMAEF is so important to me – how athletics really does build an incredible character in RMC Cadets.

Victoria Edwards: You performed with the Royal Roads Military College band.

Ray Hook: Since I had played the euphonium (baritone horn) in high school, it was natural for me to join the drum and bugle band at Royal Roads in 1968-9. I had played the baritone bugle at Royal Roads; I thought it would be a great way to get out of parades. That didn’t work out too well! I dug through my archives and found an excellent shot of yours truly in the old “fuzzy-wuzzies” recruit dress of the day back in September 1967 just outside the changing room before a Sunday church parade. Since the RMC band was only a pipe band when I got there in 1970-71, I couldn’t join. After grad, I continued performing as a musician in several volunteer bands over the years, from the Petawawa Legion Community Band, to the Base Borden and Base Kingston’s Voluntary Military Bands, The Windsor District Military Band, The King’s Own Calgary Regiment (KOCR) Military Band (ask me sometime about how LONG the Calgary Stampede Parade is…!), and currently the Camrose and District Community Concert Band.  Biggest highlight was playing in a Military Tattoo in 2001 in Western Canada as a member of the KOCR band at shows in Calgary (Saddledome), Red Deer (Westerner Place) and Edmonton (Northlands), alongside the best military band in the world – The Band of the Grenadier Guards. It was an extra treat to know the senior Director of the Guards Band on the tour from my time in the UK on exchange duty in the late 80s.

Victoria Edwards: Finding the right balance between your work life and other activities seems to be very important to you. Can you explain?

Ray Hook: Yes – this is one of the most important things that my wife Elaine shared with me and taught me during our 45 years (so far) of marriage, that community involvement and the importance of giving back to your communities and sharing your talents with others is so very crucial to a full and interesting life. As a young officer, I was, like most of my colleagues, consumed with the job and doing it well. Then, while on a posting to NDHQ in the late 70s, Elaine said to me one day that I needed to get a life! Too much work is really not healthy… so I started dabbling in other outside interests besides hockey. I took a night school course for stained glass lamps in Ottawa, which led me to teach the topic a year later at night school for local communities and to start my own side business in lamps, windows and sun catchers. My greatest commission work was to build two full sized stained glass windows for the churches at CFB Petawawa – talk about a legacy. Being of RCD (Armd Corps) background, it was a bit difficult at first to design and build the windows for 2 RCHA (artillery) but I got over it. From there, other interests evolved over time and postings, from community bands, to more sports (golf, Scottish Country dancing, canoeing, and more), to joining Rotary, serving on the local Chamber of Commerce Board, to volunteer work with the local and Provincial Food Bank organizations, volunteering at our church, to joining various professional organizations in fund raising and businesses. We now and before, enjoy a varied and extremely busy lifestyle doing fulfilling things that we developed over the years. I saw far too many colleagues over the years dedicate themselves solely to their jobs and on retirement, literally died from boredom! Work is important – of that there is no doubt, but you must have a “life after” work as well.

Victoria Edwards: You are the class secretary of 1971. Any highlights?

Ray Hook: There are many highlights, and most of them revolve around seeing so many familiar faces at each Reunion, and that makes all the work worthwhile, although my very supportive wife Elaine may offer a slightly different opinion!  The job of Class Sec doesn’t really have any fixed terms of reference, other than organizing the Class Reunion weekends for sure and being a point of contact for the world.  The job is pretty well open to whatever you want to do and what you are prepared to do, especially on the fund raising side to give back to the College.  It has been an interesting voyage for sure. I have been in the job since the late 80s (best guess…) and to watch the changing lives and attitudes of my classmates has been interesting. The challenges that we all faced in the 10-15 years after Grad were so different from those that we now face. It has been a very interesting journey. One of the “neater” highlights for me has been to be in contact with a long “lost” classmate, and have him show up after a 35 or 40-year absence from Reunions, and to see the joy on his face at his first reunion and linking up with long lost friends! That is a real “feel good” moment.  As we enter the Old Brigade this fall, I am struck again by how much younger we are now, as compared to the Old Brigaders that we paraded with at the College….  Must be the water or something.

Victoria Edwards: Outline your career progression since you earned a Bachelor of Arts at RMC.

Ray Hook: Certainly. After studying Economics and Commerce at RMC, I served thirty-two years before retirement in Kingston and went straight to the RMC Club in civies the next day in 1998.  Although I retired as a Lt Colonel, I had more fun as a Captain (Captain Hook does live!). We had tours in Gagetown, Germany, Gagetown, NDHQ, Petawawa, Borden, British Army Exchange in Bovington UK, CFB London, Croatia, Kingston, and Calgary. After Regular Force service, I was called back to command the Brockville Rifles for a short stint and when we moved to Calgary in 2001, I served at the Brigade HQ in a staff job before FINAL retirement in 2002. The staff officer’s job in Zagreb, Croatia in 1995 was one of my more “interesting” and challenging jobs, running the Operations Cell for 12,000 UN troops on Croatia. I enjoyed the privilege of working with officers and NCMs from seven or eight different nations (from Russia to Nepal), some of whom I remain in contact with today. The United Nations stationed the UN protective forces (UNPROFOR) as a force designed to create conditions for the peace and security between the Republic of Croatia and the Yugoslav Army, Serbia and Montenegro and local Serbian rebels on the territory of Croatia.

Victoria Edwards: You served as an exchange officer with the British Army Armored Trials and Development unit.

Ray Hook: I was posted to Allenby Barracks, Bovington, Dorset, England (1988-1991) as second in command at the British Army Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ADTU). I was one of five Exchange Officers attached to the Royal Armoured Corps Centre –  we came from Canada, Australian, France, Germany and the USA.  In my unit (ATDU), the one hundred strong Armoured Corps soldiers on staff came from British Armoured regiments throughout the country into was what considered a prestige posting within the Royal Armoured Corps. They rigorously test all new developments in armoured vehicles, clothing, footwear, life-saving equipment, and everyday equipment like night vision devices and combat boots. The ADTU could deploy to any theatre whenever needed. During the Gulf War of 1989, for example, soldiers in theatre using Challenger tanks suffered working temperatures of at least 50˚ Celsius in the turrets, where they could suffer life threatening heat exhaustion. The ADTU worked with the Royal Army Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) to develop spot crew cooling units for the tanks, which were tested and installed by ATDU staff in theatre.  I enjoyed working with British market-leading manufacturers: Royal Ordnance, British Aerospace, Marconi for example.

Victoria Edwards: You served at the Army Lessons Learned Centre (ALLC) in Kingston.

Ray Hook: Collecting observations and actionable lessons from operations at the tactical level and considering their operational and strategic implications is satisfying. The Incident Lessons Report (ILR) described key Observations from the unit about an incident that occurred in theatre and the Topic Lessons Report (TLR) reported on specific topics drawn from the Army Critical Topics List (CTL) and both provided recommendations for future action categorized under Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Policy (DOTMP).  The Post Operation Report (POR) was submitted during and following operations to report on activities pertinent to each of the five operational phases: Warning, Mounting, Deployment, Employment, and Redeployment. The consolidated reports represent an accurate record of incidents and issues that are significant and require the attention of the Land Staff, Subject Matter Experts, field forces and force generators.

Victoria Edwards: I understand that you retired from the Canadian Forces to have a stable lifestyle. How has that worked out?

Ray Hook: Depends on how you define stable….! I retired with the view to have a more “stable” lifestyle. Since I left, though, I have had several different jobs – after my time at the RMC Club, we moved to Calgary where I worked as a fundraiser with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (2000-1); then as Director of Development at Augustana University (2002- 2005), a private university in Camrose Alberta which is now the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta; then as the Executive Director of the Camrose Women’s Shelter (2005 – 2008), and finally as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Ferintosh (2010 – 2012) – so the “stable lifestyle” turned into four moves and five different jobs after retirement and between 1998 and 2008. How’s that for stable?

Victoria Edwards: You back on your job at the Camrose Women’s Shelter (2005-8) as a tremendous honour and heck of a responsibility for a “man”…..

Ray Hook: As the executive director of the Camrose Women`s Shelter, I administered a non-profit organization which provides a safe, secure and supportive residential environment for women and children affected by domestic violence or in a crisis situation. The shelter has a 22 bed capacity and is wheelchair accessible. Delivered by a staff of 20 and volunteers, the programs include information groups on family violence, supportive counselling and referral, family support and childcare, a full time school program for children K-9 and an outreach program. I invited H7860 Senator Roméo Dallaire (CMR 1969), who had served with me in Germany in 1975, as keynote speaker at an Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) Annual Meeting in April 2008 (www.acws.ca). Roméo Dallaire presented on understanding and addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) and Vicarious Trauma (VT). Sexual assault and domestic violence counsellors working with traumatized persons as therapists can suffer effects such as compassion fatigue, cognitive schemas, posttraumatic symptoms and burnout. For a transcript of an interview I did for the ACWS on my retirement from the Women’s Shelter in Camrose see (www.acws.ca/documents/springnewsletter.pdf). I must admit that this job was the most satisfying one in my working life – we changed and saved lives. That was incredible.

Victoria Edwards: When you worked as a civilian employee of the RMC Club (1998-2000), what were your key responsibilities? What do you see as the main advances?

Ray with the baseball cap and Club tie – playing with the band – Ex Cadet Weekend

Ray Hook: I returned to the College full time as a civilian employed by the RMC Club from Jan 1998 until the fall of 2000. The RMC Club provides services to all alumni who join the Club by paying membership dues. I sold and kept track of the RMC Club memberships manually using a database. Today, members can join, renew and update membership information securely in person or online (www.rmcclub.ca/MemberServices.html).  Members of the Club may take advantage of a number of services that are not available to others. I expanded the selection of membership services from listings of ex-cadets, lost life members and honorary members’ lists to include a small selection of items for sale in the Gift Shop – frames for degrees and commissioning scrolls, to some crested clothing and some swag. The services which I started, included a subscription to the Alumni Magazine -Veritas, which the RMC Club publishes thrice annually. I founded Veritas Magazine, and served as its first editor. In recent years the services have expanded exponentially – to include free access to the Club Employment Service, travel discounts, reduced rates for insurance, even quality wines and a fantastic Gift Shop (on line and in person). I am so pleased to see that what I started has really taken root – full credit to Mary Darlington at the Club! Our Electronic Newsletter, eVeritas was initiated in January 2005 and it has become one of the Club’s most visited sections. There are more perks and benefits too numerous to mention here. Best bet is to go in to Panet House and SHOP!

Victoria Edwards: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Ray Hook: I wish to thank all sponsors and donors most sincerely for their generous support of all of our Chass-galerie canoe trips, but most importantly for their support to our Class’s legacy fund for athletics at the Colleges. The Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment is a most unique endowment with the Foundation, in that our Class has sponsored this fund, but has not put our name on it, so it can truly be considered as open to any and all donors who support the Athletic Pillar at both Colleges (not just RMCC). We are quite proud of the success of the fund and wish it well in the future after we “ship oars” (i.e. hang up our paddles) for the last time on September 22ndat RMCC. Thank you all.

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8926 Ray Hook  ‘71 is one of 13 Ex-Cadets and two current cadets who will raise money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2016. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.

Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the summer of e-Veritas Issues.

12 down; 3 to go!

5893 Dr. Tom Gee ‘63

8684 Peter Holt ‘71

8788 Geoff Bennett ‘71

8725 Fergus McLaughlin ‘71

8833 John Leggat ‘71

8836 Clark Little ‘71

8926 Ray Hook ‘71

9143 Bruce McAlpine ‘72

12192 Tom Lawson ‘79

M0288 Roxanne Rees ‘83

8710 Chuck Lemieux ‘71

15566 Helga Grodzinski ‘86

22461 Claire Bramma ‘02

27173 William Carpentier (RMCC) ‘18

27369 Andréanne Tremblay (RMCSJ) ‘20