Just being posted all the way from Valcartier to Victoria and we were driving all the way and getting to see each province, that was unbelievable. That, to me, right there, made my life.
I'm Sgt. Mireille Gauthier, medical radiation technologist from 2 Field Amb in Petawawa, Ontario.
I enrolled in the CAF back when I was in college in X-rays school. At that time, it was very intimidating the thought of joining the military. I wanted opportunities to work in different environments and that's exactly what the CAF was offering for me. I grew up in La Tuque, Quebec, and I was in a very small location, 20 kilometres down a dirt road by a lake, very isolated. Thinking about going outside of the province, the country, all of that was very intimidating to me.
My father was definitely somebody who inspired me as I was growing up, for sure. And I'd work with him in whatever he was doing. If it was mechanic for the car, I was with him. So, I felt like I could just do whatever I wanted with him. Whatever he was doing, I was capable of helping as well. He always gave me those opportunities.
I feel like I have the same challenges as my husband has with balancing family and work life. It's always hard when we're going on a deployment exercise course, we both have to say the same good-bye to our kids and that's difficult no matter who you are. As much as I love being posted away and being in different work environments, it's also been difficult to be away from my family, being away from my parents, my sisters. I have lots of amazing memories of my career.
Lately, I had the opportunity to go out and work with the Navy on an exercise. So, we had to cross the Atlantic to get there and to do our exercise over there. And I was part of the medical team there. So, we had our little medical bay and while I was out there, we were on a naval replenishment unit, which meant that we would fuel other ships that would come alongside of us. And I remember just looking at all the sailors working, making that happen, the communication between the ships for all that to be coordinated. It's incredible to see. It's something I never thought I'd get to witness in my career.
What makes me smile the most within the Canadian Armed Forces are the patients. Some days, I'm doing admin, admin, admin and I'm swamped and I'm having a difficult day myself and I'd say: "You know what? I'm gonna do the next patient." Because sometimes, as a sergeant, you're more into the administrative side of things. Performing an exam on the patient, you ask them a few questions and you know that for them, it's a difficult day. No one is excited to come and take X-rays. They're either injured or something is wrong with them and they want answers. And that's when the magic happens. That's when we get to use our equipment and our skillset. So, you have to talk a little bit with them. And usually, when I can get a smile off of them, then, that gives me a smile. That makes my day. Patients are kings when they walk in here and that's what I try to work by.