Re­serves host open house

Demon­stra­tions and dis­plays al­low pub­lic to see the re­servist ex­pe­ri­ence

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - BY FRAM DINSHAW

Three years ago, Ashton Red­ding donned his green army uni­form for the first time.

Three years later, 19-year-old Red­ding and his fel­low sol­diers wel­comed the pub­lic, dis­play­ing ev­ery­thing from ra­dio sets to mas­sive grenade launcher at the Cana­dian Army Re­serve Open House in Truro Satur­day.

“What made me join the re­serves? Well, I was 16 years old, still in school, wanted a part-time job, wanted to have some fun and learn some skills,” said Red­ding. “I’ve loved it ever since.”

Red­ding is a mem­ber of The Nova Sco­tia High­landers (North), who hope to re­cruit nearly 100 new lo­cal re­servists. New re­cruits can learn skills such as out­door sur­vival and train­ing on weapons such as the stan­dard C7 as­sault ri­fle and 50-cal­i­bre ma­chine guns.

The open house, at the Wil­low Street ar­moury, also pro­vided a chance for fam­ily mem­bers to see first-hand what their loved ones do – and Red­ding’s younger sis­ters Sky­lar Frizzell and Stella Parker were on hand to see their big brother, joined by their mother, An­gelina Frizzell.

As sol­diers helped Sky­lar cock the 50-cal­i­bre ma­chine gun – no mean feat on a heavy weapon – An­gelina de­scribed what Red­ding’s army ser­vice meant to her.

“As long as we’re do­ing things to­gether it’s happy,” she said. “Mil­i­tary-wise, as a mom, it’s a lit­tle more nerve-wrack­ing but that’s just be­ing a mom, it doesn’t mat­ter what it is. “They like to see what their brother’s do­ing, they’re al­ways ask­ing ques­tions and he’s al­ways good at teach­ing them, so why not bring them down and they can see it first-hand?”

Vis­i­tors at the open house could get in some tar­get prac­tice on an in­door vir­tual shoot­ing range. Ri­fles were hooked up to a com­puter screen dis­play­ing pop-up tar­gets, for peo­ple to fire sim­u­lated shots at on-screen tar­gets, not un­like a video game.

Lieut.-col. Colin Todd, com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of The Nova Sco­tia High­landers (North), was pleased to present the ex­pe­ri­ence to the pub­lic, with his 200 or so sol­diers.

For him, a ca­reer in the re­serves does not just mean a lit­tle ex­tra money his pocket, but valu­able skills for life.

“I joined al­most 32 years ago and the army helped me find my con­fi­dence. I’m a school­teacher in my full-time job to­day and I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be a school­teacher if it wasn’t for my ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing in the re­serves. The re­serves of­fer a va­ri­ety of skills and train­ing that are not only great for per­sonal de­velop-

ment and growth, but the skills are of­ten trans­ferrable to civil­ian jobs as well.”

Todd said he aims to build a pla­toon of 38 sol­diers by 2021, who can de­ploy with reg­u­lar forces over­seas. High­landers re­servists have al­ready served in Bos­nia, Afghanistan and Latvia.

Sim­i­lar open houses were held at the High­landers’ other ar­mouries in Pic­tou and Springhill, part of a na­tional ef­fort held at re­serve bases across Canada.

FRAM DINSHAW/ TRURO NEWS

Stella Parker tests out a hand-held bat­tle ra­dio set used by sol­diers of The Nova Sco­tia High­landers (North) while on field op­er­a­tions. The army re­serve group opened its Truro Ar­moury to the pub­lic on Satur­day in the hopes of also gain­ing new re­cruits.

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