Monterey Faces: Meet Ted Powell military man turned Fern Café helper

Monterey centre volunteer Linda Foubister’s Q&A with Monterey member Ted Powell

Monterey centre volunteer Linda Foubister’s Q&A with Monterey member Ted Powell

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Dundas, Ontario. At age 19, I joined the Canadian Forces because of the Korean war. But instead of serving in Korea, I was posted to Germany where I spent two years. I trained in artillery then in logistics. In 1964, I was posted to Cyprus for seven months in the first contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. In 1971, I was again posted to Germany for six years, this time with my family, returning to Canada in 1977.

I come from a military family, with my father and older brother in the services as well as myself, and now, my grandson. In recognition of my years of military service, I received the Queens Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 as well at the NATO Special Service Medal, the UN Special Service Medal, the UN/Cyprus Medal, and the Canadian Forces Decoration with two bars.

“My dad has a wicked sense of humour,” chimed in Ted’s daughter, Jane, visiting from England. “He was a fun dad, not a grumpy dad. It was always exciting when he came home from exercises. He would store up Fizzies (tablets that were dropped into water to create sweet, effervescent drinks) when he was away to bring back to my brother and me. He spoiled me, taking me to the Dairy Queen, and it was he who took me to figure skating lessons. We spent time together. He was the manager of the base hockey team, and then the baseball team, and I would go to the games with him. I was also his bowling partner. One day, we were off to a bowling competition and my mother told us not to come home without winning a turkey and a bottle of wine. And so we came home with the turkey and bottle of wine that we won.

My dad was strict in discipline in the military but he was not like that at home. I remember one day when we were on the base and saw some soldiers with their coats open. I said, ‘Please, dad, don’t say anything.’ But he opens the window and says, ‘Either wear it properly or take it off.’ That’s my dad.”

What brought you to the Victoria area and the centre?

My last posting was from CFB Cornwallis, where I served as base chief, to CFB Esquimalt (Naden) where I worked in administration. I had a 37-year career in the forces. I had heard about the centre from several people so my wife and I visited it and then joined the Sing-A-Long.

What do you like about living in Victoria?

I have lived pretty well in every province, but Victoria is the best place I’ve been. It’s paradise. I like the weather and the people.

How long have you been a member of the Monterey Recreation Centre?

I have been a member of Monterey Recreation Centre for over 25 years.

What do you do as a volunteer?

I have been a Café Helper at the centre’s Fern Café for 14 years now. On two days a week, I arrive at 8 a.m., get out the condiments and supplies, then make sandwiches. For several years, I volunteered at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in the Medical Imaging Department bringing patients to the department.

As for the clubs at the centre, I sing in the Monterey Chorus. I was a member of the Note-Ables for 20 years where I entertained as a singer and dancer. My most memorable show was Faraway Places where we performed songs from different countries in various costumes.

Why do you volunteer?

I don’t like sitting around at home. My wife passed away 18 years ago so I am glad that volunteering gets me out of the house.

What do you like about the centre?

I enjoy the social interaction, catching up with the people I have met at the centre and meeting new people. I often dress up and come to the special events in the evening about once a month.

What would you tell a newcomer about the centre?

The members are very friendly. If you speak to people, you’ll meet people. If you are interested in singing, consider joining the Chorus. Even if you can’t sing, you’ll enjoy the social aspect. The Chorus practices Tuesdays from 9:40-11:40 am.

What issues do you see with the centre?

It could do with more parking.

Where do you see the centre in five years?

Well, there is no room for expansion but I expect there will be more improvements in the individual rooms.

What are your hobbies?

I walk a lot and particularly enjoy my walks with a hospice group. I also like to travel and have visited many countries. I read military history about World War I, World War II and the Vietnam war.

What would surprise people about you?

I was in England for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 working in the background in logistics. When the parade ended, I was sent on leave. When I got back to England, no one in my unit was left. The British army had to sort things out and they got me back to Germany.

Linda Foubister is a Monterey Recreation Centre volunteer photographer and writer.

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