Celebrating families who serve

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Article / June 21, 2020 / Project number: 20-0086

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By Moira Farr, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario— On Father’s Day, we showcase army dads whose sons and daughters have also chosen military careers.

As we discovered, pride and respect go both ways in these families. 

Here's to all Canadian Army dads, with thanks for their dedication and service, and their impact on the next generation. 

Major Roger Pierce and Second Lieutenant Abbi Pierce

“I knew deep down, as I watched Abbi grow, that she’d join the military. I’m not the least bit surprised, and I’m very proud of her,” says Major Roger Pierce, 55, planning officer at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston, of his 25-year-old daughter, Second Lieutenant Abbi Pierce, Artillery, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School - Combat Training Centre (RCAS-CTC) Gagetown. 

Though she originally planned to become a teacher, she realized while at university that she was drawn to join the military. “Growing up, I always looked up to my dad. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to try that. I could also make a difference.’ I’ve been pretty lucky.” 

It was a proud moment for everyone when Abbi was sworn in, an event her parents happily drove to Fredericton to witness. 

Sergeant Anthony Kolody and Corporal Jeremy Kolody

As a kid growing up in Kingston, Ontario, Corporal Jeremy Kolody remembers playing with toy soldiers in the family backyard, and wanting to join the army from age seven. Now working with 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Corporate Services in London, Ontario, he also recalls knowing that his father, Sergeant Anthony Kolody, had a “mystical, magical” job.  “I liked the colour of his suit. I remember polishing his boots for him. I can’t remember doing a good job at that,” he says, laughing. 

“The military is a calling, and he answered the call,” says Jeremy’s father, who joined the Reserves in 1981, switched to regular forces in 1994, and now works with 4 CDSG Signals Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario. 

“My dad does provide a lot of guidance, but his first rule of teaching is that if you have a good head on your shoulders, you have the ability to think for yourself,” says Cpl Kolody. We’ve always been encouraged to look for answers ourselves first.”

Chief Warrant Officer Chad Lelond and Private William Lelond

This summer, Chief Warrant Officer Chad Lelond, of 38 Canadian Brigade Group’s Artillery Tactical Group, will watch his 16-year-old son, William, leave their home in Brandon, Manitoba, for his Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) in Winnipeg. “I’m pretty happy,” says CWO Lelond, 45, and a member for 27 years. “The reserves have been an excellent career for me. It sounds kind of cheesy, but it made me who I am.”

William says he has always wanted to join. “I’ve kind of just been watching my dad.” 

CWO Lelond says his son has a lot of qualities that will help him do well as he gets out on his own and trains for a military career. “He’s fairly detail-oriented. That’s key for working in artillery.”

As far as advice goes for the new recruit (especially one with a CWO dad, who is also Regimental Sergeant Major of their unit), CWO Lelond keeps it simple: “Do as you’re told, and keep your ears open.”

Captain Serge Masson and Private Felix Masson

The army legacy has deep patrilineal roots for the Masson family, and a few remarkable career parallels. Captain Serge Masson’s father, Master Warrant Officer Joseph Claude Masson, joined the Royal 22e Regiment in 1956, and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion. When Serge joined in 1989, he too was assigned to the 3rd Battalion. And in 2019, Serge’s 19-year-old son, Felix Masson, followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by joining that same battalion. 

Both Capt Masson and his father served as Warrant Officers and Master Warrant Officers, and as Sergeant Majors at the Training Centre for the 2nd Division Canada (IC 2 Cdn Div), 23 years apart. Serge even inherited the same phone number.

In the most illustrious coincidence of all, Master Warrant Officer Joseph Claude Masson received his Member of Military Merit medal at the Citadel in Quebec from Governor General Jules Leger in 1978. Forty years later, in 2018, Serge received the same honour, in the same place, from Governor General Julie Payette. 

Capt Masson’s sister, Carole Masson, supply technician also followed in the family tradition, retiring after 22 years of service.

It is no surprise, with these role models, that Felix would enlist (in October, 2018. “I've wanted to do this since almost forever,” says Private Masson. “My father never really pushed me to enroll, but I think that the simple fact of seeing him work in the Forces greatly influenced me.

Of course, a military childhood leaves its mark. “Inspections of my room every morning,” says Felix. He also has memories of being impressed watching his father prepare his equipment before leaving.

‘When I was not yet in the Army, I learned a lot from him about the Army, but the day I became a recruit, he stopped giving me tips and answers,” says Felix. “He wanted me to learn like the others and be the same as the others. I would like to thank him for that.”

Master Corporal Byron Hardy and Corporal Andrew Hardy

It was Corporal Andrew Hardy, a paramedic in Swan River, Manitoba, who first joined the new Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (CRPG) for Swan Valley, in January, 2019. His dad, Master Corporal Byron Hardy, a retired RCMP officer, joined in May, 2019. As the older Hardy jokingly points out, “although I was sworn in four months later than Andrew, I outrank him.”

When the Rangers came to see if they could start a new unit in the area, it was natural that both outdoor-loving Hardys would be drawn to the volunteer opportunity. 

“I was 20 years old when I got into the RCMP, and I'm going to be 59 next month, so I've been in this kind of service my whole life, and obviously Andrew was born into that,” says MCpl Hardy. “We've always instilled the idea that service to country and community is important, and the Rangers fit into that.”

Cpl Hardy recalls growing up in Saskatchewan, and thinking that his police-officer father had the “coolest job ever.” He knew from a young age he wanted a career in emergency services.

“As a dad, it's an extremely proud moment when you know that your kid not only has a love for people, he’s an excellent paramedic. He has a great reputation in the community,” says MCpl Hardy. 

Now Andrew has a 3-year-old son of his own, who loves the bright red Rangers sweaters, and recently enjoyed a visit to the local fire hall with his grandfather, who is also a volunteer firefighter. “We’ll see what he decides to do,” says MCpl Hardy. Whatever it is, he has plenty of role models for a life of serving others.

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