As one of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk’s newest residents, Colleen is bringing her unique perspective to support the community as it observes Remembrance Day, a time when all Canadians pay tribute to men and women in uniform – both past and present – who have so selflessly served their country to protect and defend our freedom.
Colleen’s unique perspective is shaped by her personal experience as a member of the Canadian Reserves for 14 years. Reservists like Colleen serve in communities across Canada. They participate in training and other readiness exercises that prepare them to support our military if the call to service arrives.
Colleen joined the Reserves after seeing a newspaper advertisement highlighting an opportunity to accelerate her first aid training as part of the 11 (Victoria) Medical Company. She transferred to the Royal Westminster Regiment while attending college, before returning to Victoria a few years later to continue her education and rejoin the Medical Company where she served as a medical assistant to her unit.
“I learned so much as a Reservist,” says Colleen, speaking about her near two decades of service to Canada. “I learned to be very resilient and to adapt to change because we were always being put in situations where we had to adjust with little notice. I also learned the importance of working as a team and to strive to overcome obstacles, no matter how challenging.”
As a reservist, Colleen says she loved the comradery and the constant push to challenge yourself to do things you might not think possible. She was also welcomed as a woman and always felt respected by her mainly male counterparts.
While Colleen never saw action, her grandfather, George Murray, served in the 10th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in World War One and in the 11A Company of the Veterans Home Guard in World War Two, stationed in Nanaimo, BC.
Today, Colleen is the proud owner of her grandfather’s medals and has learned through family genealogical research that her granduncle served in the infamous Black Watch during World War One, a signature name for Royal Scottish Regiments, renowned for their honour, gallantry and resilience, as well as for wearing dark tartan kilts in battle.
Colleen achieved the impressive rank of Master Corporal before an injury led to her medical discharge. As in previous years, Colleen looks forward to observing Remembrance Day.
“Many people often think of those who have served in uniform as heroes,” adds Colleen. “But if you wore a uniform, you don’t tend to think of yourself that way…I didn’t. It’s a job that I chose to do because I liked the job and what I could do with it.”
Thanks to the many Canadians, like Colleen, that have done their job in our service, Canadians enjoy freedom and democracy. We remain ever grateful for their service to our country.
Let we forget…now and forever.