Chasse Galerie 2016: Roxanne Rees proven curve ball catcher!
27182 Officer Cadet (IV) Carmen Kiltz interviewed M0288 Roxanne Rees (RMC 1983), one of thirteen Ex-Cadets and two current officer-cadets who will raise money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2016. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.
C. What prompted you to take part in this year’s Chasse Galerie?
R. This is the second trip down the Rideau for me (see photos left & right) and I was amazed that I was invited back. I am left to conclude that comic relief is as important as an ability to paddle. One of the requirements of all paddlers is to also steer the canoe. When I was steering in 2011 we did a serpentine; which means my fellow paddlers saw both shorelines up close and personal at the widest stretch of the journey. Regret to report my steering abilities have not improved but now our Coxswain knows to put me at the helm at a very narrow part of the journey!
This is a chance for me to do something far outside my comfort zone and contribute to something that matters to me. Sports were a very important part of my Military Career and I want to contribute to ensuring others have the same opportunities that I had. Despite what many believe, all universities rely on their Alumni to provide the extras that make or break the university experience. For me sports were one of the best things about RMC.
C. What activities do you enjoy participating in to stay active?
R. I partake in many sports but mostly I love to swim. This really is the only thing I am good at but I also love Stand Up Paddle (sometime I lie down and have a nap but Stand Up Paddle sounds much better than Have a nap Paddle) and Sailing. Last year I did an amazing sail adventure from Split to Dubrovnik Croatia in a 50th Beneteau. My friend and skipper organized 36 of us in six boats for two weeks. It would take a few hours to drive what took two weeks to sail but I highly recommend the experience. Croatia has become the water playground of Europe. I managed to tour around afterward and was struck by how much damage had been inflicted in the recent war but how artfully the country had recovered. I am in training for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. I love the idea that I could actually be on a competitive team even if it is a really long shot. The last time I was well enough to even think about a competition was more than 30 years ago. I was in training for the Masters Swim Team when I became very ill. I lost twenty years of my life as a result but I never gave up hope that I could recover. My age is working against me now and all my friends think I am trying to make up for lost time. They may be right but I really don’t care. Anyone who has faced death head on knows that somethings just don’t matter. What matters to me is being the best possible version of me and sports helps me keep my head clear enough to figure out what that is. The 2011 Canoe Trip was my first foray back into pushing myself physically. It took me six months to recover and it probably will again but the experience will be worth it. It also gave me the confidence to try sailing again and I am so thankful for that. The advantage of having to dig out from a deep dark hole is appreciating what is right in front. As a result I only associate with good decent people who want to make a difference. That describes everyone in this canoe.
C. What were you studying while at RMC?
R. Mostly I was studying human nature (and still am) but my RMC degree is English and Philosophy. I did most of an undergrad in Europe at The University of Freiburg under the auspices of The University of Manitoba. I was only a couple of credits short of a degree when I was finally accepted into RMC. I had been trying to get to RMC since my 13th birthday so I was not about to say no just because I had already been in University (part time) for nine years. Getting a degree was at best a minor consideration. I understood what RMC stood for and I went to be part of that. I am on this canoe trip for that same reason. In my opinion, there was a little too much tearing down before the building up of the human spirit at RMC which is why most people have to let a lot of time go by before they can see the real benefit of this experience. I am only five years older than most of my classmates but, at the time, there was huge gap in our experience level. I joined the military very young and already had two tours to Germany and was working in a supervisory capacity by the time I landed in Kingston. I was very clear what a huge gift I had been given. I have never stopped studying but nowhere else have I had the small class sizes that I had at RMC or the access to help. I was very fortunate to meet Muhammad Yunus (Banker to the Poor) at HEC in Paris several years ago as part of that continued study. I have incorporated his philosophy in every subsequent business venture.
C. Which extracurricular clubs and sports did you participate in while at RMC?
R. I did partake in lots of things that I was exempt from (as a UTPM) and was always bugging the PERI Staff for extra help. I played a lot of squash and would still love to but I think that might be pushing my luck too far. I learned how to Windsurf at RMC and while I would still love to do that, I think my paddle board will need to suffice.
C. What does it mean to you to be supporting the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund?
R. It means everything. I think it is safe to say that most people did not enjoy RMC but most of us can agree that sports was a significant part of the experience. I challenge everyone to think about who they have become as a result of their experience at RMC and would you like the future graduates to benefit from high quality sports equipment and opportunity to compete that we all had. Like it not the government does not pay for everything. Just like every other university on the planet the ALUMNI makes up the shortfall between the basics and what it takes to excel. The Danny McLeod fund is a Legacy Fund within the RMC Foundation that will help in Sports Excellence. I heard somewhere that we have no right to take happiness if we are not prepared to give happiness. Same is true here as we THE ALUMNI have in times past used what was given. Now we must give back.
C. What has your career been like since graduating from RMC? Can you highlight any significant moments?
R. My military career was cut short soon after I graduated from RMC and I was devastated. Not only did I have to find a way to get well on my own as there was no rehabilitation available but I had to completely reinvent myself. I was entitled to retraining but I was too sick to be retrained. Now that I have rehabilitated myself the retraining is no longer available so I did it myself. I have done a ton of fundraising for various organizations and understand that everyone has their hand out for our hard earned nickel. At some point we all just have to figure out what makes us tick and what is important. Sports is an important component to RMC and is worthy of my support. The fact that this canoe trip is an important part of my self directed rehabilitation is a bonus.
I have always been good at looking at a problem from the 50,000 ft perspective instead of pole vaulting over mouse turds. That makes me good at things that I had no intention of taking on when I opted for a military career. Life can throw you a curve ball and I opted to catch it! I have an interest in two farms; one to help people get over addictions www.woodwynnfarms.org and another to connect children with animals and nature www.spiritgate.ca. Both farms are also part of my desire to protect food security and I use a unique business model to help fund the programs. I’m just getting warmed up!
Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the next few months of e-Veritas Issues. Six down; nine to go!
8788 Geoff Bennett ‘71
8926 Ray Hook ‘71
9143 Bruce McAlpine ‘72
12192 Tom Lawson ‘79
M0288 Roxanne Rees ‘83
8710 Chuck Lemieux ‘71
15566 Helga Grodzinski ‘86
22461 Claire Bramma ‘02
27173 William Carpentier (RMCC) ‘18
27369 Andréanne Tremblay (RMCSJ) ‘20