(Shelley) In a previous episode, we spoke to a Medical Technician deployed on Operation LASER - the CAF response to help Canadians in the context of COVID‑19. CAF members in non-medical trades have also been providing support to this effort. Today, we’re joined by Reservist Sergeant Frédérick St-Denis, also deployed at one of the long-term care facilities in Quebec.
Thanks so much for joining us, Sergeant. In terms of responding to an unexpected situation like this, what are the biggest challenges you have faced up until now?
(Sgt St-Denis) In fact, the biggest challenge is more on the technical side; all our daily duties had to change, things that we took for granted for however many years. I’ll give you an example: just simply doing the laundry has become complicated because there are several steps that we have to take to protect the Forces. Working, we arrive at work in our civilian clothes; it seems simple, and not important, but each thing that we do during the day has to be analyzed in order to protect the Forces so we don’t become a vector for the civilian population.
(S) How does it feel contributing to this effort?
(Sgt St-Denis) The fact that we’re participating… in this effort is really meaningful; it’s one of the rare times that we have the opportunity to work with the public. Even during operations where we help the public in flood situations, we’re never in direct contact; that has an enormous impact on our morale in a positive way. We see the direct impact that it has on the residents, and we have instant positive feedback. In addition, our unit is from Laval and we’re taking care of Laval residents, so we already feel closer, if you know what I mean.
(S) What do your teams do to avoid isolation and ensure that you maintain good morale among the different sections?
(Sgt St-Denis) Like with any difficult course or difficult operation, what helps get us through in the Army is really our colleagues. We take time to share jokes, to find out how others are doing. It’s really the…even if we have to stay two metres apart, honestly in 13 years in the Army, honestly, I’ve never had a platoon that is as close as this one. So, uh, it’s really just talking to one another, and it’s those times that we will remember too.
(S) Thank you so much for joining us today.