Local sailors honoured on Navy Day

Master Seaman Brett Poulin enjoys a moment in Parliament.

Master Seaman Brett Poulin enjoys a moment in Parliament.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

MS Brett Poulin was one of three sailors from CFB Esquimalt honoured with the Exceptional Sailor Award during Navy Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.

Lt(N) Krisztina Rekeszki, the Operations Officer in Maritime Forces Pacific’s Joint Logistics Operation Centre, and CPO2 Andre Aubry,  Ship Service Officer with Fleet Maintenance Facility, also received scrolls from Senator Terry Mercer and were honoured for their service.

MS Poulin, who works as a naval communicator, Lt(N) Rekeszki, and CPO2 Andre Aubry were among a larger group of seven Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sailors and three Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) personnel from across Canada recognized in the Oct. 25 ceremony in the Red Chamber of the Senate of Canada.

“It was an amazing experience, definitely the highlight of my career, and I am truly honoured to be selected for this special award,” said MS Poulin. “It feels great and gave me a sense of pride and appreciation for my hard work and dedication. There have been a lot of long hours and days to get me the point where I am.”

With 12 years of service in the RCN, MS Poulin has worked as an IT (Internet Technology) support worker and was recognized for his efforts in trouble shooting computer issues aboard RCN vessels, his role as Unit Security Supervisor, helping oversee the largest removable media account in CFB Esquimalt, and participating in community outreach programs such as Yukon Sour Days in Whitehorse where he helped educate the public about the navy’s role and responsibilities.

“The whole team were thrilled that he was chosen as a recipient of the award and the office is now inundated by visitors wanting to congratulate him,” said Base Information Services (BIS) Commanding Officer, Cdr Byron Derby. “MS Poulin is at the heart of every aspect of life here in BIS, whether it be in the incredibly professional way he conducts his day-to-day duties, the way he gets involved in many sporting events and social functions, or how he represents the RCN when outside of work as a volunteer for the Navy Outreach Program.”

The Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable George J. Furey; Senators Terry Mercer and Daniel Lang; Commander of the RCN, VAdm Ron Lloyd, and CCG Commissioner Jody Thomas participated in the ceremony. The annual award, now in its third year, recognizes outstanding ability, devotion to duty, leadership, loyalty, courage, integrity and professionalism, for those with at least three years of service, and having made a major contribution to enhance the profile and reputation of the RCN.

During his address to the delegation about the recipients’ service records, Senator Mercer noted the important role played by the RCN and CCG in keeping Canada safe.

“When it comes to performance, Canada’s Navy and Coast Guard are second to none. They are giants amongst much bigger nations, both in performance and capability, with some of the most professional and well-trained sailors in the world.”

The honorees itinerary in Ottawa also included a Navy Day Reception attended by numerous sponsors of the event, along with a visit to the House of Commons and a surprise meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Meeting the Prime Minister was very special, it wasn’t initially part of the day’s agenda and it was great to listen to his kinds words that recognized us for our hard work and dedication to the military,” said MS Poulin.

Lt(N) Rekeszki was recognized for her work in the logistics community and her efforts in managing support to deployed ships, along with organizing the 20th anniversary celebration for HMCS Calgary.

CPO2 Aubry was honoured for his contributions in the RCN, local communities and specifically for how he fought a large fire on board HMCS Protecteur on Feb. 27, 2014.

“The ceremony was incredible and the sponsors did an amazing job putting together a truly fantastic experience for the 10 award recipients,” said Lt(N) Rekeszki.

The day before they received their awards, the recipients enjoyed dinner with VAdm Lloyd and Commissioner Thomas.

CPO2 Aubry said it was a privilege being recognized and said the highlight for him was meeting RCN senior leadership.

“Just to get an opportunity to network with them and learn about their experiences in Ottawa was phenomenal and truly one of the highlights of this event for me,” said CPO2 Aubry.

The award and event is organized by the Navy League of Canada.

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