A mental health nurse from CFB Esquimalt will be part of an elite group of Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP representatives selected for a national Remembrance Day ceremony.
Navy Lt. Derek Carter, the mental health nursing officer for the Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Pacific), was selected to be one of the seven members of the Remembrance Day Sentry Program.
The program is comprised of one representative from the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Forces Health Services, a Sentry Commander and a Chief of Defence Staff member as well as one RCMP officer who were nominated by their supervisors for their merit and dedication.
The group left for Ottawa on Nov. 5 and will take a week to participate in Remembrance Day events, practice drills, and maybe catch an Ottawa Senators game before participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial on Nov. 11.
“I was really surprised, and not only surprised but it’s a complete honour,” Carter said. “It’s a great privilege to be selected amongst the other persons that have been identified through the units.”
Carter enrolled for the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990 as a boatswain, and served in both the east and west coast fleets.
In 2001 he transferred to the Canadian Forces Health Services, and in 2002 began his bachelor of sciences degree in nursing where he found his passion for mental health
“I was fortunate enough to get placed at a geriatric psychiatric unit and it was really really touching, ” Carter said. “I had the privilege to be invited not only into the patients’ lives but also their families’ lives… it’s a calling.”
Carter said that throughout the year mental health is a priority, but that for some Nov. 11 can be a bit tough, and that’s why it’s important to look to the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
“I take pride getting up every morning wearing this uniform, it’s such an honor to do that,” Carter said. “This Remembrance Day it just definitely highlights the significance of passion, commitment and dedication during this time, and sacrifice.”