Any officer-cadet who attended CMR from 1976 to 1995, who was involved with varsity sports will recall a dedicated and friendly sports therapist by the name of Ron Guertin. Many former CMR football and hockey players, in particular, can recall the consciencous approach and delicate care he gave them in ensuring their sports injuries were properly attended too.
Recently Victoria Edwards caught up with Ron to discuss his CMR days and what he is up to these days.
e-veritas: How did you come to be an athletic therapist?
Ron Guertin: I was never a Physical Education & Recreation Instructor; I served my military career in the medical corps retiring as a Sergeant after 30 years of service.
E-veritas: At which Military College(s) did you serve? Which years?
Ron Guertin: I served at Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean (CMR) for two years in the Medical Infirmary Room (MIR). I had an opportunity for the next two years to replace the athletic therapist, who went on medical leave. When I retired from the service, I worked as a civilian sports therapist at CMR for the next 15 years, until I retired for a second time in 1995, when CMR was closed. I was at CMR from 1976 to 1995.
E-veritas: What were your primary duties?
Ron Guertin: My primary duties were to provide sports therapy services to all of the students and staff at CMR. This means assessing injuries, providing basic emergency life support, recognizing and managing acute traumatic neurological dysfunction, providing first aid, preparing for entrance into appropriate health care delivery systems.
E-veritas: Did you provide athletic therapy to varsity team(s)?
Ron Guertin: Yes. I worked mainly with the Football and Hockey Varsity teams but I provided services to all of the varsity teams. Tasks include selection of equipment, fitting and repair, warm-up, conditioning programs, and adapting environment and facilities to the activity. I also trained students to apply supportive or prophylactic taping for all of the teams.
E-veritas: What do you consider the high-light of serving at the Military College?
Ron Guertin: All of the students that I met and treated became part of my enlarged family. I treated them like sons and daughters.
Ron Guertin: The memories of all of the friends that I made during my time at CMR stand out. It is nice to see that former students still call me when they are in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
E-veritas: Did you have a role in research?
Ron Guertin: Yes. Since prevention includes equipment selection, I researched all sorts of sports equipment to provide better protection for our players and to reduce sports injuries.
E-veritas: Did you have a role in cadet discipline/approving whether cadets could return to competition?
Ron Guertin: I did not have a role in cadet discipline although the athletes who I worked with needed to be respectful of me and of each other. And yes, I did approve all return to training. Where appropriate, I used techniques to facilitate a safe return to participation.
E-veritas: Are you still involved with the CF?
Ron Guertin: Yes, I am still very involved with the CF. I am part of the Legion Filiale 79, Richelieu St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and the “Anciens 22”. As an ex-military member, I visit the recruits in St-Jean and spend time with the patients in Sainte-Anne de Beaupré hospital, less than an hour from Montreal.
I also run an addictions awareness and prevention program (alcohol, drug and gambling addictions) once a week at the Saint-Jean Garrison for the recruits and the military staff.
E-veritas: Tell us more about athletic therapy.
Ron Guertin: Athletic therapy is a bit like physiotherapy but ours goal are to prevent injuries, provide emergency services and rehabilitative techniques. As an athletic therapist, my scope of Practice includes the prevention, immediate care, and reconditioning. With proper treatment, a player can return to the field as soon as possible.
E-veritas: I understand that you worked with the Canadian team for the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR).
Ron Guertin: Yes. I worked with the CIOR as sports trainer for many summers. CIOR is a competition, in which Reserve officers and senior NCOs are offered the opportunity to participate in international NATO events. For example participants trained over a couple months prior to competing in rifle & pistol shooting, land & water obstacle course, orienteering, combat first-aid and the law of armed conflict. http://www.cior.net/
E-veritas: How do you stay fit?
Ron Guertin: I force march 5 km at least 5 mornings a week.
La personnalité du mois de mai 2010
Par Normand-Guy Goudreau, CD
Les Camarades de la filiale # 79 (Richelieu) de la LRC intronisent avec plaisir un ancien combattant de la Corée au <Mur du Souvenir>
Salut, Camarade Ronald Guertin
Fils d’Ulric Guertin et de Émilia Lusignan de Aylmer, Ron voit le jour le 15 septembre 1933 et devient le cadet d’une grade famille.
On retrouve dans les survivants, Ulysse, Marc, Jean, Guy et notre intronisé. Ronald va épouser Marie-Rose Toupin le 17 juillet 1965. Son épouse est de Fabre dans le comté de Témiscamingue. De ce couple naissent Lucille en 1966 qui habite aujourd’hui Saint-Blaise et est mère de trois enfants et Roch en 1967, qui habite à Ottawa et est père du petit David. Comme le père de Ron travaille à la Chambre des Communes à Ottawa, Ron fait ses études dans la capitale nationale. Ron voit grandir la famille et raconte que ses six frères sont partis servir le Canada à la deuxième guerre mondiale. Arrivé à l’âge de servir, Ron voudra lui aussi porter l’uniforme. Marc revient servir avec le R22eR en Corée, Emmanuel fait de même avec le Pay Corps et Ron se joint au RCAMC (Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps). Curieusement Ron signe dans la force permanente et ce n’est qu’après ses cours de base et des efforts continus qu’on le retrouve dans la force spéciale pour la Corée. On le suit au Toronto Military Hospital, au 25th Field Ambulance en Corée et à la fin de 1952 il est de retour à Kingston où il est affecté au Kingston Military Hospital. En 1954, il arrive au 27th Field Ambulance de Valcartier. Le chanceux va aller goûter aux moustiques de Gagetown et part par la suite pour le Fort Chambly à Soest en Allemagne. En 1958 il est de retour au Kingston Military Hospital avant de quitter pour un an à l’hôpital de Churchill. En 1961, son stage au No. 13 P.D. sera de courte durée et il est muté au National Defence Medical Centre à Ottawa.
Accompagné de son épouse, il quitte au mois d’août 1965 pour le British Military Hospital d’Iserlohn en Allemagne. Les déménagements se poursuivent : NDMC Ottawa, CFS La Macaza, CFS Chibougamau, Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean en 1976 et finalement la retraite en 1980.
Ron passe les 15 prochaines années au CMR dans un poste de soigneur sportif. La vraie retraite sonne en 1995 et le bénévolat commence.
Durant sa carrière militaire, Ronald a servi sous le matricule SC 9211 dans le RCAMC et a été remercié de ses services en recevant les médailles de la Corée et des Nations Unies, la médaille canadienne pour la Corée, la CD avec agraffe, la médaille de service et celle de L’OTAN.
Le 17 janvier 2003, Normand Maurice le proposait, Luc Groleau le secondait : Ron devenait membre de la filiale #79 (Richelieu) de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Ron est aussi membre l’Association du 22 de St-Jean où il est officier d’entraide. À la Légion, il s’est engagé comme trésorier du Fonds du coquelicot.
Aujourd’hui, Ron est fier de son fils qui est aussi dans les forces armées. Dans un article paru le 15 novembre 2005 (Servir), <Une histoire peu commune> (cinq frères dans l’armée). «Emmanuel s’enrôle dans les Ingénieurs, s’implique dans la campagne d’Italie et la libération de la Hollande; Léo est en Europe durant la guerre comme motocycliste; Ulysse dans les Cameron Highlanders d’Ottawa sert en Islande, en Angleterre et est là pour la libération de la France. Il sera policier à Ottawa pendant 35 ans. Maurice, l’aviateur, passe trois années sur le front de l’Atlantique (couverture des convois militaires). Gérard, sur l’effectif du Régiment de la Chaudière est gravement blessé par balle. Marc n’a pas eu la chance (?) d’aller outre-mer car il était qualifié mais trop jeune. Il se reprend avec Emmanuel et Ron et sert en Corée. Le fils Roch a déjà deux missions en Chypre et une autre en Afghanistan. Son épouse est réserviste. Le Canada dit merci à la famille Guertin.
Soyons fiers d’introniser ce camarade au <Mur du Souvenir>
Memoriam Eorum Retinebimus
Nous nous souviendrons d’eux.
Camarade Ronald Guertin, on va se souvenir de toi !
In conversation with Victoria Edwards.
E-veritas: What challenge(s) did you face as a cadet at CMR? Do you have any advice?
Col. Claude Wauthier: I studied at CMR from 1973 to 1978. The primary duties at CMR are to do your best in all three aspects of academics, discipline (or military) and fitness. My difficulty was always to manage the three aspects as I clearly at the time had my priorities in wrong order. Sports were clearly my first priority, then excel in the military second and academic studies were clearly trailing far behind. In hindsight, this is a mistake. The answer is a just balance between all aspects. Sometimes at the young age you need a strong coach and this is where the squadron officer at the time could have played a much more active role. At the end, I graduated and was very proud of this accomplishment. It was a major struggle from an academic perspective.
E-veritas: Did you served as a Physical Education and Recreation Officer?
Col. Claude Wauthier: No. I was never a Physical Education Recreation Officer [the trade disbanded in 1997]. I always managed to be in the gym during my entire career. This is perhaps why people think I was part of the gym staff.
E-veritas: What do you consider the high-lights of studying at the Military College?
Col. Claude Wauthier: The years that I enjoyed the most were my prep year and last year. My prep year was a highlight because CMR was a wonderful place to be. I loved the military life and BOTC was by far the best experience of that year. Graduating at the other end was definitively a major accomplishment.
E-veritas: Which friendships with fellow cadets were lasting?
Col. Claude Wauthier: Friendships were the high-lights of CMR. 11216 Mr Denis D. Bouchard (CMR 1972-1977), 11676 Marc Lampron (CMR 1978), 11657 Guy G Gerbeau (CMR 1979), 11669 MGen Joe Hincke (CMR RMC 1978), 11620 François F Bureau (CMR 1978), 11694 Mr Luc Maurice (CMR 1978) and many more will always remain true friends, although our lives have all taken separate paths.
E-veritas: Do you have any particular memory you would like to share with our readers?
Col. Claude Wauthier: As mentioned above, I struggled academically and this made my years at CMR difficult. During my fourth year, I finally decided that studies were more important than sports, military and social life as it meant a lot of money. At that time, we were commissioned directly as Lt and this meant a major rise in salary. My greatest disappointment is that my mother, who was the inspiration behind joining CMR, watched my graduation from another world.
E-veritas: As an amateur photographer, you won an Honourable Mention in the 2006 DND photography contest.
Col Claude Wauthier: I won an Honourable Mention for “Fougères” in 2006. I have participated in virtually all DND photo contests since 1988. I never won the big prize but always managed to get one of the first three places in one category or another except for the past two years where digital photography has become the standard in photography. Photography is my true passion and my goal was to transform such passion into some kind of work. But somehow, passion and work do not really match together. I still have to find a way to ensure that I remain passionate about photo and at the same time make this a more profitable venture. I enjoyed doing wedding photos. While most see this type of enterprise as a quick way of making money, I can assure you this is not always the case. Money only comes when you have gain an enviable reputation and sometimes, this takes years. Wedding photography is a true photographic challenge where stress, knowledge, experience all come together and you must come with a top of the line product. This is exciting. http://www.ganimage.com/
E-veritas: When you retired from the Regular Force, did you intend to return as a member of the Reserves?
Col. Claude Wauthier: When I retired in August 2008, I had no intention to rejoin. I firmly intended to devote my time between my studies and photography. I started a degree of Master in visual arts and minor in graphic design some years ago but with full time work, it was not possible to take more than one course per session. That combined with wedding photography, teaching photography, organizing workshop, etc kept me very busy.
E-veritas: What are you doing these days?
Col. Claude Wauthier: The position of Director for Fitness was created mainly to support the implementation of the CF Health and Physical Fitness strategy that was launched by General Hillier on 1 April 2008. It is a new military position at the rank of Colonel. This is where my knowledge of many people in the world of sports, my reputation of being fit, my involvement in the CISM program and my years in NDHQ played a role. I was offered the position less than one month after retirement but I was too involved in photography. The organization was kind enough to wait until January 2009.
E-veritas: You were Chef de Mission at the CISM Volleyball Championships in 2006. How are CISM volleyball teams recruited?
Col. Claude Wauthier: The Conseil international du sport militaire (CISM) Volleyball Championships were held in 2006 at Fort Huachuca, Arizon; and in 2008 in Warendorf, Germany. The CF was represented by a women’s and a men’s team. As a former volleyball player, it was an honour to serve as Chef de Mission. The CISM is an elite program that enables the athletes to develop, to move beyond the level of base volleyball player. Players must excel both on the volleyball court and at their work. To be able to recruit our people, we have to see them play. And we can only see if there are athletes capable of playing at the international level when we go to the national competition. We have a bank of players we already know, but they’re not always available. Sometimes they’re in training, in operations, and of course military requirements will always have priority over sports.
E-veritas: Has your sport always been volleyball?
Col. Claude Wauthier: My sport has always been volleyball. From the time I was first picked up at high school to be part of the school representative team, I have never played on the bench. I mean literally never. I stopped playing at the competitive level in 1986 due to serious back pain that led to surgery. I played on the varsity team at CMR and in all base teams after graduation. During all those years, I was part of the starting line up as the team setter. The highlight of these years was winning the Nationals championship in 1985. I am very proud of this but I am also very disappointed that physical pain prevented me from joining the CISM team when Canada entered a team for the first time in 1987. I continued to be involved in the sport as referee, coach, and the CISM Chief of Mission and General Manager from 2000 to 2008, when I retired.
E-veritas: How do you feel about physical fitness and sports?
Col. Claude Wauthier: I am a firm believer in physical fitness and always have been. My involvement in fitness and sports started before I joined the military. I then believed that I had to be in top fitness if I were to accomplish the duties required of the military. It is somewhat interesting that a belief which became a way of life 35 years ago has brought me in the position of Director of Fitness for the Canadian Forces. I have been touring all CF facilities in the past four months.
E-veritas: You won the Liz Hoffman Memorial Commendation for Complaint Resolution in 2007 – an important ally of the Ombudsman`s office.
Col. Claude Wauthier: Yes. The Commendation was awarded in my role as Director General Canadian Forces Grievance Authority. In collaboration with other organizations responsible for conflict resolution in the Canadian Forces, we developed feedback mechanisms and processes aimed at improving and expediting conflict prevention and decision-making in grievance cases. My strategies for dealing with complaint resolution are “early, local and informal” and to provide unconditional support to Ombudsman investigators. The ideas behind these initiatives started before I was posted as DGCFGA but it takes years before real changes can occur and it is only now, that I am out of the job, that my replacement is really implementing the changes that will make things better for all military people who submit a grievance. This is a combined effort, although I was the only one who received the Commendation.
E-veritas: How would you describe your career?
Col. Claude Wauthier: I really had what I would qualify as an “ordinary” career. I have never deployed, I never held command appointment. I have basically been in the background supporting those at the pointy end.