Biographies – Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism, Discrimination, LGBTQ2 Prejudice, Gender Bias and White Supremacy
Major-General (Ret’d) E.S. (Ed) Fitch, O.M.M., M.S.M., CD
Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Major-General (MGen) (Ret’d) Ed Fitch enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in September 1966 and earned a degree in Civil Engineering at Collège Militaire Royal (St Jean)/Royal Military College (Kingston).
After commissioning in 1971, MGen Fitch held various postings during a distinguished career. Major-General Fitch was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his work in the Former Yugoslavia, for facilitating the NATO entry into that theatre. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Military Merit in June 1999 and was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. MGen Fitch was the CAF Patron of Shooting and has been appointed a Life Governor of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association.
On 1 July 2006, MGen Fitch ceased full-time service and moved to Victoria, BC. In November 2006 he was called up from the Supplementary Reserve to in support of Op PODIUM, the Canadian Forces contribution to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. His primary duty evolved into the leadership of the Games Red Team. At the end of March 2009 MGen Fitch was promoted to the rank of civilian after 43 years of service to Canada; he continued to serve Joint Task Force Games until the completion of Op PODIUM.
Since June 2010, he has been enjoying active retirement in Victoria, BC. MGen Fitch currently serves on several volunteer Boards of Directors of not-for-profit organizations and was recently awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for community work. None of this would have been remotely possible without the devoted support of his family and, especially, his dear wife Sharon.
Sergeant (Ret’d) Derek Aronhia:Nens Montour
Hailing from the Kanienke’ha:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawà:ke, Sergeant (Sgt) (Ret’d) Derek Montour was the second of three sons born to Michael A. Montour, a Kahnawake’ro:non (person from Kahnawà:ke), and Isobel née Brown, a Glaswegian.Although life on a First Nation reserve can be challenging for many people, Sgt Montour’s childhood was fortunately heavily influenced by parents who were involved in their sons’ lives. Although not escaping childhood entirely unscathed, the benefits of sports, private high school and a thirst for adventure, drove Sgt Montour to join the Canadian Armed Forces; he became an infantryman with the Royal Montreal Regiment and began his training in 1989. The following summer, while deployed for their summer training, the 1990 Oka Crisis exploded. This was a monumental experience for Sgt Montour, and in fact was a key aspect in him deciding to join the United States Marine Corps in September 1990.
In 2001 following the death of his father, Sgt Montour left the U.S Marine Corps as a Sergeant and moved back home to Kahnawà:ke where he found a job as both a construction worker and a night reception with Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services (KSCS). This was the beginning of his partnership with the organization he considers part of his family. Sgt Montour quickly rose through the ranks of KSCS by taking on the role of a team leader in 2002, Manager of Prevention and Support Services (both 1st Line Services including youth programs, parenting, traditional education, as well as 2nd Line Services such as Youth Protection, Psychology, Addictions and Traditional Counseling) in 2003. Derek assumed the role of Executive Director of KSCS in 2012. Since that time, Sgt Montour has also served as the President of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Board of Directors since 2015, the regional representative on the Child and Family Services National Advisory Committee and many local Kahnawake committees and initiatives.
Major (Ret’d) Sandra Perron, CD
Major (Maj) (Ret’d) Sandra Perron is the founder and executive director of The Pepper Pod, a retreat center for Women Veterans. After serving in the military as an infantry officer with the Royal 22e Régiment, she specialized in advanced quality engineering with General Motors and Bombardier Aerospace, then rounded out her skills with trauma informed practices, neuro-linguistic programming and mind mapping techniques, all of which have made her a unique and popular keynote speaker.
In 1998 she chaired the Minister of Defence's Advisory Board on Employment Equity. Maj Perron currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Corps of Commissionnaires as well as The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Center Foundation. She has consistently served in one capacity or another on committees to help promote and mentor women in non-traditional fields. Maj Perron currently serves as the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Régiment de Hull. She is the best-selling author of Out Standing In The Field, soon to be a movie with GPA Films.
Captain (Ret’d) D.L. (Door) Gibson, M.M.M., CD
In September 1973 Captain (Capt) (Ret’d) Gibson enrolled in the Canadian Forces Army Reserve, 723 Communications Squadron in Halifax, NS. From 1984-1986 Capt Gibson was a Platoon Warrant for a Canadian Youth Program Katimavik – Military Option in MTC Aldershot. The Katimavik Program’s diversity was the stepping stone for a future passion of equality and inclusion in the workplace.
As a Public Service employee for Base Transport, CFB Esquimalt, Capt Gibson established the Defence Visible Minority Advisory Group (DVMAG) for Maritime Pacific (MARPAC) in 2000. In 2000-2002, Capt Gibson was MARPAC’s Regional Civilian Co-Chair DVMAG, and in 2002-2008 was the National Civilian Co-Chair for DVMAG. Through working with the Defence Diversity Council; the Department’s Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity and Directorate of Diversity and Well Being, Capt Gibson influenced changes which promoted Employment Equity within the Defence Diversity Advisory Groups of/for all Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence members.
In 2005, for being a strong proponent of Diversity in the workplace and leadership initiatives in Health Services Group, during the 56th Order of Military Merit Investiture, Capt Gibson received the Member of Military Merit (M.M.M.) presented by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, The Governor General of Canada. In 2008, Capt Gibson transferred to 39 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG) HQ, Vancouver, BC as Wellness Advisor to the Brigade Commander, creating an active Employment Equity focus for all Brigade units.
Since retiring in 2017, Capt Gibson volunteers with several not for profit organizations and individuals in need. When possible, Capt Gibson travels back home to Halifax to spend quality time with her precious and large east coast family. Capt Gibson currently resides in Victoria with her life partner of 23 years, Shirley Avril, and west coast family.
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