Nelles Commissionaires hold down the block

Nelles Block Commissionaires, Cmre David Brand  and Cmre Howie Becker


 2Lt Travis Winship, Base Adminstration ~


Nelles Block is both an accommodation centre, much like a hotel, and a barracks, where rules and regulations are to be followed.

Military members are the primary residents – currently 431 are being housed in the three-storey building.

As they come and go, their primary interaction with front end staff is with Commissionaires Dave Brand, 70, and Howie Becker, 75.

Their positions have been deemed a critical core service during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cmre Becker manages the front desk taking bookings, billing for residents’ stay, and other clerical duties. A Plexiglas panel has been installed at the front desk to mitigate potential contamination between residents and himself.

Cmre Brand manages maintenance, keeping the building clean, including six washrooms, and organizing required repairs. Reduced on-site manning has added to his workload, so he tackles any extra required cleaning.

The two serve as ad hoc barrack wardens, reminding residents to adhere to the physical distancing policy. In the washrooms, every second toilet and sink has been disabled to ensure physical distancing, and posters are placed wherever there’s empty wall space.

“We are also like den mothers,” says Cmre Brand. “Some of these members left home when they were 18 immediately to join the military.”

They’ve been known to lend an ear and give advice to their young wards. 

Both have worked for the Commissionaires for years – Cmre Brand for eight years with a little over a year at Nelles Block, and Cmre Becker for 12 years, six at the Naden accommodation centre.

Before this work, they both had other careers; Cmre Brand was a car business service manager, and Cmre Becker was a nurse. His wife is also a nurse, so he understands her long work hours and COVID-19 protocols to keep their home clean and themselves virus free.

For Cmre Brand, the sudden self-isolation has meant a separation from his fiancé who recently moved into a retirement home. He was able to spend a bit of time with her over Easter in a parking garage – two metres apart – but it was well worth it, he says.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.