15582 Heather Thorne-Albright ADC/CWAdO – Class of 1986
I have to admit, when I was asked to write about myself for this issue I was a little hesitant. I am proud of the career that I have had and the choices that I have made but I find it quite daunting to write about myself. To be selected for “bar slate” came easily for some, but not for me. I had a Review Board in Chilliwack and I was on Recorded Warning in First Year at RMC; so imagine what it meant to me to graduate with First Class Honours and Four Bars.
I remember telling the First Years during our Winter Slate introductions that “Bar Wars” had been pretty intense that year and as they could see……I lost! CWAdO was probably the most dreaded bar position to get. Life as an Aide de Camp had been busy and I was so looking forward to being a slasher. I can still see my Squadron Commander, then Capt Natynczyk, laughing across the table from me in the Mess Hall when the slate was announced and they called my name. But it allowed me to work closely with Colonel Harky Smith and I will cherish that time and that learning opportunity always.
Like so many others, I joined the military to see the world, but my first posting following graduation was less than an hour away from my home town, Base Transportation at CFB Toronto. From there I got an overseas posting, to Gander Newfoundland! It was lovely but life got much more interesting when I was posted to 3 Air Movements Squadron in Ottawa. Not only did I get to meet the Queen and various Heads of State but I got to really give back in Africa, Russia and the former Yugoslavia on Humanitarian Aid Missions.
Even better, I met this handsome CELE Officer, David Albright, and we have been married over 22 years and have three children.
When our daughter Cassie was born with Down Syndrome (photo above proudly kissing mom on promotion to Colonel) it significantly changed our family dynamics. My husband and I joined the National Capital Region Down Syndrome Association and served on the Board of Directors at different times. But the pace was really hectic and work life balance was hard to achieve. So in 2008, I transferred from the Regular Force to the Air Reserve and served for nearly five years as the Coordinator of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council Secretariat. After two years in the Directorate of the Air Reserve, this past summer I was appointed by the Commander of the RCAF as the first RCAF Family Advocate. My parents taught me early on the importance of family and this position gives me the chance to help find solutions for many of the challenges that military families face. With our daughter Lauren at University and Cassie and Mason at different high schools, I know a bit about family challenges.
The Class of 1986 has the big 3-0 this fall. Time has gone by so quickly. I am happy to say that I am still in touch with many of my classmates and I am expecting that we will have an awesome Reunion in September. See you there.