Makes hon­our roll

Tig­nish na­tive com­peted na­tion­ally in four Cana­dian Armed Forces sports

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE -

When War­rant Of­fi­cer Char­lene Arse­nault got in­vited to Ot­tawa for the 2017 Cana­dian Armed Forces Sports Award cer­e­mony, she knew just who she wanted to bring as her guest.

She had her mom, Eve­lyn Arse­nault from Tig­nish, in at­ten­dance as she was in­ducted into the Cana­dian Armed Forces Sports Hon­our Roll for out­stand­ing ac­com­plish­ments as a multi-sport ath­lete. Her mother, said the 31year Armed Forces vet­eran, has al­ways been her big­gest fan and sup­porter, both dur­ing and prior to her mil­i­tary ca­reer. She said she would not have ac­com­plished as much as she has in her mil­i­tary ca­reer and sports if it were not for the sup­port of her whole fam­ily, which con­sisted of eight broth­ers and seven sis­ters.

“I am proud to be in the mil­i­tary and I wear my uni­form with pride,” added Arse­nault who noted the CAF “is very big on fit­ness for their troops.” She said the Forces have been very sup­port­ive to her through­out her ca­reer.

She said it was fit­ting that her sis­ter, Noreen Gavin, ac­com­pa­nied “Mud­der,” the nick­name she has for her mother, to the Ot­tawa cer­e­mony, as it was Noreen who usu­ally filled in as driver when Mud­der could not get her to games and prac­tices grow­ing up in Tig­nish. Arse­nault sched­uled a trip home to Tig­nish for Re­mem­brance Day where she laid a wreath in mem­ory of her un­cle. Eve­lyn was in at­ten­dance for three of her daugh­ter’s mil­i­tary sports na­tional events in­clud­ing a hockey na­tion­als in Hal­i­fax where WO Arse­nault was part of the gold medal team, a game MVP and a tour­na­ment all-star.

Ear­lier this year Eve­lyn re­ceived a rare civil­ian in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend a sports break­fast where Cana­dian women’s hockey star, Ha­ley Wick­en­heiser was guest speaker. That was a spe­cial treat for mother and daugh­ter, as WO Arse­nault is some­times re­ferred to as the Ha­ley Wick­en­heiser of fe­male mil­i­tary hockey. Hockey, said Arse­nault, was her main sport grow­ing up. Com­ing from a large fam­ily, they had their own out­door rink and put it to good use, and she did get to com­pete against Wick­en­heiser at hockey na­tion­als be­fore join­ing the Forces.

By the time she at­tended her first CAF Hockey Na­tion­als – she has at­tended 15 since 2000, 11 of them as cap­tain – she had al­ready been to na­tion­als in fast pitch and broom­ball. Since 2014 she has also been com­pet­ing in CAF half-marathons and marathons. She also com­petes in an­nual mini triathlons on base.

It was her late brother, Robert, she said, who en­cour­aged her to run com­pet­i­tively, and she put his pic­ture on her race bib the first time she com­peted.

“I al­ways carry him with me,” she said.

In Ot­tawa last May, Arse­nault was a mem­ber of the first Cana­dian team to earn a medal – bronze – at the World Marathon Cham­pi­onship. Arse­nault also won gold for na­tion­als in that same event.

In the mil­i­tary, she’s been on a peace­keep­ing tour to Ger­many, hu­man­i­tar­ian ser­vice in Nicaragua and Colom­bia and has served in many parts of Canada. WO Arse­nault’s nom­i­na­tion for the Sports Hon­our Roll notes her pas­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion for team sports has not waned.

She is de­scribed as a leader who pro­motes hard work, team co­he­sive­ness and goals set­ting. “WO Arse­nault has used sports as a con­duit to pos­i­tively in­flu­ence so many peo­ple young and old over the past 30 years,” reads her nom­i­na­tion, in part. “She ex­em­pli­fies why sports is such an im­por­tant part of the mil­i­tary.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

WO Char­lene Arse­nault is con­grat­u­lated by her mother, Eve­lyn Arse­nault of Tig­nish, af­ter win­ning a Cana­dian Armed Forces na­tional mil­i­tary marathon. WO Arse­nault de­scribes her mother as her big­gest fan and sup­porter. WO Arse­nault is a 31-year vet­eran of the Cana­dian Armed Forces.

CANA­DIAN ARMED FORCES PHOTO

WO Char­lene Arse­nault.

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