|November’s Canadian of the Month
Special Education Teacher & Zone Commander, Royal Canadian Legion
Ronald was born in Nanaimo, BC and graduated from the University of Victoria in 1987 with a Bachelor of Education in Physical Education and History. It was during his time in College that he joined the Canadian Militia, and the 5th Field Battery of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. He rose to the rank of Bombardier (Corporal). During his time with the 5th Field Battery he trained to be a Gunner, Radio Operator and learned Infantry tactics. He was with the RCA for five years until his University career ended and was offered a teaching position in sunny California. There he taught physical education and Adapted Physical Education at a non-public school in Alhambra He stayed there for 10 years and rose to the rank of Middle School Program Coordinator. It was there that he met his future wife Linda, who is from California and a special education teacher.
They eventually moved to Covina where he started as a teacher in the District Behavior Classroom, and was promoted to the position of Support Services Specialist-behavior and finally ended up in his current role teaching adults aged 18-22 in the Adult Transition Program along with his wife, where they teach independent life skills to help young adults get ready to live out on their own.
Linda and Ronald have two daughters Kayleigh Gail and Veronica Rose.
He joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 2014 at the Costa Mesa games. He is actively involved and has risen through the ranks from 1st Vice Zone Commander to Zone Commander. He is extremely proud of what we have accomplished, especially in their charitable works and the remembrance of the sacrifices young Canadian men and women have made in the past. “Lest We Forget”
What are the most important lessons you learned from your days of service?
The most important lesson I learned from my days of service was that as a team, people are able to accomplish more than as an individual. To get the Howitzer ready to fire took a team of 6-7. As we learned to work together it became easier and easier, a camaraderie formed between us. We looked out for each other and became proud of our gun.
I also found the great love we had for our nation. We had people from all walks of life with the same goal. Did we always get along? Of course not, but in the end, serving our country mended any disagreements. I felt, as all Canadians have probably felt at one time or another, that we were in the shadow of our neighbour to the south. We are proud of Canadian accomplishments, whether it be in sports, medicine, entertainment, inventions, and so on. We Canadians know who is Canadian or not, and we proudly point them out. This drives my wife nuts, she being an American.
What advice do you have for Canadian and US recruits on enlisting?
Enjoy your time. You are only young once, and when you look back at your past experiences in the military, you will do so fondly. I believe being in the military has made me a better person. I am proud of my service and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I would also tell them to make sure it is something you want to do; it is not for everyone. Learn from those who are your instructors, trust your fellow recruit, and remember you are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for your country, as few are. Be proud of your service because the rights we have today come from those who were willing to take up arms and stop tyranny.
What reflections do you have on this November 11th?
To me the ultimate sacrifice a person can make is to give their life for their country or for the protection of others. The men and women who gave their lives need to be remembered for their actions “Lest We Forget”
I am not pro-war and I believe in peace, but there are times when we have to stand up for others who cannot protect themselves. That old man in his 90’s who is hunched over with a walker, once stormed a beach with bullets and artillery flying about. He was young and went to war for his county. We need to remember him and all the women and men who served. There are no more soldiers alive from World War I. Those who fought in World War II are in their 90’s, and their numbers are decreasing as the years go by. I refuse to let their memory fade and I teach my students about their sacfrice by teaching them the symbolism of the Canadian Poppy that I wear from the last Friday in October to November 11th. I have an interest in World War I and the trials and tribulations they went through on both sides. It is unbelievable to think of the living conditions in the trench warfare and the stupidity of the fighting tactics of the time. Men, women, and animals were slaughtered. A whole generation was devastated by the numbers lost. Only through remembering their sacrifice can we hopefully not get ourselves in world conflicts such as WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam again.
Giving back is clearly in your DNA. Tell us about what you do now for a living?
I am a Special Education teacher, working with students aging from 18-22. I teach them independent life skills in an Adult Transition Program through the Covina Valley Unified School District. I have been in the field of Special Education for the past 33 years. I have a Regular Education credential in Physical Education and History, a mild/moderate Special Education credential and an Adapted Physical Education credential. In 33 years, I have been an Adapted Physical Education teacher, Support Service Specialist-behavior, Program Coordinator and even a bus driver. I am most comfortable being in the classroom and I get to work with my wife, Linda, who teaches in the same program as I.
Are you still involved with veterans affairs?
I have been involved actively in the Royal Canadian Legion since 2014, Branch 156 in the Royal Canadian Legion Western Zone, USA and Mexico. I joined them when I walked by their booth at the Costa Mesa games. Since then I was elected Treasurer of branch 156, 1st Vice Commander of the Zone and this past October 2019, at our convention I was elected Zone Commander. Our Zone participates in a Veteran’s Day service at a church in Covina, a pre-memorial service at the Inglewood cemetery and takes care of the plots of Canadian and British service men and women at the Inglewood Cemetery.
We are also involved in charitable works, we have donated money to Habitat for Humanity, the training of pets for Veterans, and for Veterans who need financial support and WINGS for abused women through the YWCA.