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MCpl Darwin Renette, an air reservist serving as an aerospace telecommunication and information systems (ATIS) technician at 22 Wing North Bay, Ont., is the top member of the Royal Canadian Air Reserve for 2018.
Col Mark Roberts, 22 Wing commander, and CWO John Short, wing chief, presented Renette with the national “Air Reserve Deserving Junior Non-Commissioned Member of the Year” award in February 2019 on behalf of BGen Alex Day, director general air reserve, and CWO André Arvisais, air reserve chief warrant officer.
The award recognizes deserving members of the air reserve for their hard work, dedication, and leadership by example, dress and deportment and their achievements on and off duty over the course of a year.
Renette is no stranger to recognition, however. After he successfully completed military basic training in 2009, the former North Bay Bulldog football player and five-time league all-star, attended the performance oriented electronics training (POET). There he was presented with the “Troop Solidarity Award” after being nominated by his course mates as someone who helped out. It was also at this time that his fellow course mates realized he was a reservist.
After garnering the top student award on his QL3 occupational training and completing his QL4 on-the-job training package, he was on his way to Trenton, Ont., to tackle the three-month QL5 course in April 2011, graduating as a qualified ATIS technician. And, once again, he took home the award for top student.
“One of the most important aspects within any organization is to ensure that members are recognized for the exceptional work that they do. The Canadian Armed Forces is no exception,” said Maj Ken Bedley, wing telecommunications and information services (WTIS) officer following Renette’s receipt of the top air reservist award. “The honours and awards, and medals programs ensure this recognition happens at all levels: at home wings or units, nationally and while serving abroad. As an officer commanding, nothing gives me more pleasure than nominating deserving members and seeing them honoured.”
“It was a big honour, and I greatly appreciate that I was recognized by my chain of command who submitted the nomination,” said Renette. “It comes down to every member I work with to allow me to do the best job I can do for them.”
This native of North Bay first worked as a civilian in the Underground Complex at North Bay, beginning in January 2006, in both the service desk and projects and acquisitions sections. Then, after rising to the surface with the remainder of the operations sections of the wing when the underground complex closed, Renette “saw the light.” With guaranteed employment stability and not having to move, he decided to join the 22 Wing Air Reserve Flight, working in areas that included information technology maintenance, network administration, and WTIS in August 2008.
“Being a member of the support trade, it is important to facilitate the users to do their job in an efficient and timely manner,” he said. “This is accomplished through some planning but also through reacting to different forces due to budgetary constraints and by establishing priorities.”
“As a tradesperson within the RCAF, we don’t always look at our daily activities as impacting the overall mission,” said MWO Gordon Wiese, the WTIS master warrant officer. This award confirms that, regardless of your job within the RCAF, excellence has a great impact.”
Although working within the desktop support section at 22 Wing has its challenges, Renette explained that these same challenges become highlights in his career as he adopts creative solutions to overcome adversity–whether a user needs a new keyboard or the entire wing migrates to a new operating system. “Technology is always evolving,” he added, and his job is to keep on top of new trends, sometimes on a daily basis.
What does the future hold? “High awareness of cyber threats should be shaping how we operate,” he advised.
Renette believes that the reservists in WTIS maintain continuity even in an ever-changing and technically demanding environment. Lessons learned are readily adopted and there is a better, seamless understanding of how business is done in the Canadian Air Defence Sector.
The letter from CWO Arvisais, which accompanied Renette’s award, reads as follows:
“On behalf of the DG Air Reserve, BGen Day and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize you as the Air Reserve Deserving Jr NCM of the year, 2018. You have been selected amongst an impressive list of candidates from organizations across the country for your remarkable effort and impressive commitment to your work throughout the year.
“You have been and continue to be an extremely valuable asset to 22 Wing RCAF Reserve Flight. Without doubt, your contribution at work as a versatile, effective and dedicated individual, embodies the attributes requisite for nomination. You have clearly made a positive impact to the success of this year’s Deserving Air Reservist recognition program.
“Once again, keep up your outstanding work and positive attitude in the performance of your duties; you are truly deserving of this significant award.”