Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Leadership Award presented to HMCS Queen Charlotte sailor


Sub-Lieutenant Spencer Lee and Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott Ferris
HMCS Queen Charlotte

It’s not often one gets to be the first-ever recipient of a military recognition award, but on Jan.13 that was the case for a naval reserve sailor from HMCS Queen Charlotte.

Master Sailor Rachel McCarthy was the first recipient of the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Leadership Award.

VAdm (Retired) Mark Norman presented the award bearing his name to MS McCarthy on behalf of the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund (RCNBF).

The award recognizes a serving shipmate of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) whose outstanding efforts have made a significant contribution to the overall quality of life and well-being within the broader naval community.

MS McCarthy’s contributions were noted for selfless dedication towards bettering the quality of life and service within the navy, outstanding contributions to the overall well-being of the broader naval community, and advocacy for physical fitness and mental health.

In presenting the award during an Honours and Award Ceremony held at HMCS Queen Charlotte, VAdm (Ret’d) Norman said, “It’s most often the case these awards are named for individuals who are no longer with us. I, for one, am really glad that’s not the case with this one.”

He added he was grateful to the RCNBF for the opportunity to collaborate with the organization and continue its remarkable legacy of supporting navy members and families.

The ceremony was attended by Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy; Commodore Michael Hopper, Commander of the Naval Reserve; and other provincial and federal dignitaries who took part in the ceremony virtually.

“I am very proud of Master Sailor McCarthy,” said Lieutenant-Commander John W. MacDonald, Commanding Officer of HMCS Queen Charlotte. “This current award continues to show the calibre of sailors within our unit, and we will continue to mentor and guide them to meet their potential.”

MS McCarthy joined the navy as a Reservist in 2005 and recently celebrated the birth of a fifth child.

“The doors of opportunity continue to open ever since I joined in 2005,” says MS McCarthy. “To know that everything you do in your career is not just a benefit to you but the Canadian public as well is meaningful to me.”

MS McCarthy serves multiple roles at the unit, such as the primary contact for the unit kit shop, President of the Mess Committee of the Junior Ranks Mess, and the Regulating Petty Officer, in addition to being a Naval Communicator.

From 2006 to 2011, MS McCarthy travelled the globe as part of the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) Soccer Team, an experience that provided a common ground for meeting people.

“I love working with and meeting people who are both skilled and unique,” says MS Rachel McCarthy.

The Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Leadership Award, created by the RCNBF, provides an annual cash award of $5,000 to the successful nominee each May to coincide with the commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic. The funds are to be used by the recipient for a Canadiana experience that supports awareness of the RCN and RCNBF, contributions to a family member(s) RESP, or for a charitable donation of the recipient’s choice to an organization that, in turn, supports activities related to the well-being of veterans, serving members, and/or military families.

MS McCarthy intends to support family members’ education.

“The award has enabled 13 children in my extended family to either jump start or add to their RESPs. Vice-Admiral Norman and the members of the RCNBF, you’ve provided the ultimate opportunity for positive possibility through future education for little Canadian leaders to be,” said MS McCarthy.


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