Cheque mate!

Adam Rainsford is a 4th year Shipwright Apprentice and a contributor to the chessboard project. Photo by Michael McWhinnie, LCdr (Ret’d)

Adam Rainsford is a 4th year Shipwright Apprentice and a contributor to the chessboard project. Photo by Michael McWhinnie, LCdr (Ret’d)

Ashley Evans
FMFCB
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The team at Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton (FMFCB) pride themselves on their ability to meet any challenge and produce consistently excellent results. Projects vary but regardless of their size or complexity the managers and tradespeople of FMFCB have the range of knowledge and skill to rise to the occasion.

Thus, when NETE Senior Engineer Tony DeRosenroll approached the former Commanding Officer, Capt(N) Martin Drews (Retired) for support towards the Broadmead Veterans Memorial Lodge, he approved soliciting the Apprentice Association, confident that something special would be produced.

Their President, Kyle Hubicka, accepted the challenge.  Imagination, creativity and attention to detail would be provided by an outstanding group of apprentices who collaborated across a variety of trade specialties to conceive, design and craft a one-of-a-kind chess board for the Charity Golf Tournament and Silent Auction.

After a few delays caused by pandemic-related scheduling conflicts, the apprentices came up with the ‘luxury chess set’ idea and were ready to start production by the end of May 2021. The project was a perfect choice as it would showcase the widest range of FMFCB apprentice skillsets and assured the broadest participation by the members of the current cohort. Hubicka said that coming up with an item that would work well for a silent auction was the most challenging part of this project, as it needed to be both generic enough to gain interest from a wide range of bidders, but also thread the needle on being unique enough to stand out.

“When Tony contacted me as Acting Apprenticeship Manager, I was excited about this opportunity to showcase the FMF’s apprenticeship programs, skills, and abilities for such a great cause,” said Steve Ringma, Acting Group 2 Manager.

Approximately seven apprentices and new journeypersons including Shipwrights, Painters, Electroplaters, Machinists, and Engravers worked on the project, which was accomplished over the span of three months in-between operational requirements of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

Chess-board4

The finished maple and walnut chess board measured 2-feet square, and was finished with precision accents, engraving, and hardware. The aluminum pieces were designed and manufactured personally by the apprentices, right down to the attractive ‘anodized’ finish done by the Group 2 electroplating shop.

“It was a great experience to see the apprentices’ progression of this project from start to finish, including how they dealt with arising issues that came up,” said Ringma. “We found they required very little oversight and did a lot of their own problem-solving as they were given complete control over the development and execution of this project.”  These sentiments were echoed by Hubicka who said the apprentices were able to show how well they work independently relying primarily on peer-to-peer support.

This was the first project created in support of the Broadmead Lodge by FMFCB apprentices, but it was on the strength of the apprentices’ reputation for creating outstanding projects in the past that inspired the Broadmead Care committee to ask them to consider providing their generous support.

“The FMFCB apprentices are the new darlings of the Broadmead Care community, as evidenced by the ‘just got to have it’ enthusiasm of the bidders for their work at the silent auction,” said DeRosenroll. “There is already talk of asking the apprentices for their support for similar marquee fundraising events in the future, of course!”

While not wanting to speak on behalf of all apprentices involved, Hubicka shared his sense that all involved felt rewarded from being able to see their hard work in a well-finished final format.

Three of the apprentices involved were able to come together for a presentation of their work to the new Commanding Officer of FMFCB, Capt(N) Richard, the week prior to the Charity Golf Tournament and Silent Auction event which was held on Thursday, Sept. 23.  Due to the pandemic restrictions, the finished work was displayed at the Royal Colwood Golf Club, but the silent auction was conducted online and, unfortunately, apprentice representatives were unable to participate in person.

From left to right: Capt(N) Richard, Tony DeRosenroll, Shipwright and woodworking specialist, apprentice Adam Rainsford (WC122), Paint and Graphics apprentice Graedon Church (WC123), and Millright apprentice Matt Ellner (WC162A).

From left to right: Capt(N) Richard, Tony DeRosenroll, Shipwright and woodworking specialist, apprentice Adam Rainsford (WC122), Paint and Graphics apprentice Graedon Church (WC123), and Millright apprentice Matt Ellner (WC162A).

There were approximately 150 participants golfing during the charity event with many current and former leaders of the Navy amongst them including Commander MARPAC, MARPAC Formation Chief, several retired Commanders of the RCN, as well as corporate influencers and sponsors from Babcock Canada, Seaspan Ltd., the Commissionaires, CIBC Wood Gundy, and local television, radio, and print media.

All of the funds raised by the annual Golf Tournament, Silent Auction, raffles, and cash donations, including the $1000 earned by the apprentices’ chess set, will go directly to the Broadmead Veterans Lodge for renovations and updates to the facility.

Other events FMFCB apprentices partake in are often community outreach events such as Defence on the Docks, where they welcome the public into specially outfitted booths designed to showcase the outstanding work done within the FMFs. This was a fantastic opportunity to have them actually work on a project in support of a great cause.

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Filed Under: Top Stories

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