Name: Louise Anderson
Introducing Louise Anderson
Position: Veteran Family Program Coordinator
(Image source: PMFRC)
This is a new program. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The Veteran Family Program supports medically releasing members – as well as those members who have medically released since April 1, 2018 -- in their transition to civilian life.
As Coordinator, I will provide clients with information and referrals in order to help them access the programs and services they need. I will also be facilitating workshops, helping clients to develop a transition plan, introducing them to the Veteran Family Journal and teaching them how to use that tool.
As each of my clients will have unique experiences and needs, my role will vary from person to person.
How long have you been with the PMFRC? What were you doing before the VFP?
I have been with the PMFRC since the summer of 2002. I started as a part-time employment counsellor and within a few months moved to full-time. From there I became the Employment Service Coordinator. Throughout my time with the PMFRC, I have been helping clients – both military and civilian – to deal with transitions in their worklife.
I have worked with many clients who served in the CF. Some joined at a young age and had no work experience outside of the military. It was rewarding to be able to help them create resumes to showcase the skills they had accumulated in their career, and to show them how that experience could translate to a civilian workplace.
I see my new role as VFP Coordinator as a natural progression – although my work with medically releasing members and their families will extend well beyond their career needs.
What drew you to this new position?
I had heard a lot about the VFP pilot project, and I believe that it is a timely and important program.
Transitions can be difficult regardless of whether or not they were planned or unexpected.
My father was in the military (both Navy and Air Force), and he found the transition to civilian life to be difficult. The military was all he had known; he was a Korean Vet, and he sailed on the HMCS Nootka. The images of that war never left him.
My father’s experience was a big part of my motivation to step into this new role. If I can help to make the transition a little easier for someone else, I’m in.
Tell me about your background (experience, education, etc.)?
I was a military spouse, and before moving to Petawawa, I had a number of jobs in the retail sector. I worked in Middleton NS and Baden Germany selling everything from building supplies and hardware, to liquor and tobacco.
When we moved to Belleville I took a business management and entrepreneurship course, then found a job in a beauty salon booking appointments and selling products.
After moving to Petawawa I decided to go back to college, and completed the Social Service Worker program in the spring of 2002. I started working for the PMFRC a couple of months later and have been here ever since.
What can people expect to see when they first meet you?
The VFP is designed to adapt to individual needs, so my first meeting with a client will be a discussion about how best I can support them and their family.
Where you from and what are brought you to Petawawa? How long have you lived here?
I am a military child, so I am from nowhere and everywhere.
I was born in Quebec City and then moved to Calgary. From there we went to Summerside PEI, then Greenwood, NS. From Greenwood we moved to Metz, France then to Senneterre, QC, Lac St. Denis then Greenwood, NS again.
I consider Greenwood to be my home; and that is where I got married. Shortly afterwards, we were posted to Baden, Germany. From Baden we moved to Trenton. I have lived Petawawa since 1999.
What advice do you have for families transitioning to Petawawa?
Embrace it. Petawawa can be a fabulous posting.
In the warm months we have beaches and walking trails, camp grounds, country fairs, outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets and much more. In the winter there is skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, skating, hockey and a so much more.
Petawawa is rich in natural beauty, and is fairly close to larger centres such as Ottawa and North Bay. As with all smaller locations, there are some limits to services and amenities that are available, but don’t let that define your experience.
Every posting is an opportunity to learn, grow and meet new people.
What is your favorite thing about living in the area? What is your favourite thing to do in the winter? The summer?
I love the closeness to nature – the trees, the walking trails, the beaches, the wildlife. I am not fond of the winter, so my favorite thing do is stay inside, where it is warm and cozy. In the summer, I like just being outside, walking or working in the yard. The sun is my “quicker picker upper” – I get energy from it and am happy when it is shining.
Leave us with a few more words of wisdom – what is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” I don’t know who said it, or if it is a paraphrase of an original similar quote, but when I saw it years ago, it stuck with me.