Meachel Chad works at Fraser Valley Institution and has been employed with CSC since 2002. She began volunteering with the Guard of Honour in November 2008 and became Squad Leader at her institution in January 2009. She recently took command of Pacific Region’s Guard of Honour as CSC’s first female Regional Commander. The following is an interview about her journey.
Why is it important to you to be involved with the Guard of Honour?
M: I have a lot of pride in CSC and I think we often do not recognize the great work that we do. The Guard of Honour represents the greatest aspects of our staff. We represent pride, honour, integrity, and service to our Country. We are an important part of the law enforcement family and the work we do is incredibly important. There is nothing like the brotherhood and sisterhood of first responders. This is what I want to bring to CSC - a great sense of pride.
What do you hope to achieve as Regional Commander?
M: Often we as staff can buy into the negative media coverage because the success stories don’t often get out there into the public. I don’t think you need to be part of the Guard of Honour to benefit from the positive publicity we bring to CSC. I am hoping to have more people realize and acknowledge their pride in what they do and who they work for.
I also think we play an important part in the law enforcement family, both nationally and internationally. I plan to maintain this relationship with other agencies and to show more support with our partners locally, nationally, and internationally. I want to bring these experiences back to everyone who works for CSC and have them know that we are important and appreciated.
How does the Guard of Honour affect your personal life and family life?
M: The majority of the Guard of Honour is voluntary. We provide our own travel, our own food, our own time, and we pay our own way. Some people volunteer their time with their church or a community group, I volunteer my time representing my peers. I think it adds to my life because it provides me with a constant sense of pride.
My family has come out to some of the local events I am involved with. Actually, one of the main reasons I joined the Guard of Honour was because of my kids. They were all part of the army cadets growing up, and it was watching them in their uniforms and marching that inspired me.
What do you think about being the first woman in CSC to Command a Regional Guard of Honour?
M: I take a lot of pride in being the first female Regional Commander. I was worried at first because I don’t have the military background that provides a solid base for any commander. However, the Pacific Guard of Honour is an amazingly solid group of individuals that give me the support and strength to be able to do this job.
Sergeant Major Adam Webber brings the Para Military experience and direction, and I provide another perspective on how things can work. We are a Para Military group and sometimes people can be very intimidated thinking there is no place for them in the Guard of Honour because they don’t have a military background. I want people to realize that we are very inclusive and we want everyone to be included. Todd Yolland and Steve Marshall still laugh about my marching when I first joined the Guard of Honour (Todd Yolland was the Regional Commander when I joined and Steve Marshall was the Sergeant Major). We don’t just want one type of person, everyone brings something special.
Being the first female Regional Commander is an amazing honour. It is a very public position and it is really important to me that I do a great job representing CSC and my peers. I do worry that if I make a mistake, someone will try to blame it on the fact that I am a female in a predominantly male role, but drill and policy can be taught. Pride and integrity cannot be, and that is where I excel. I have massive amounts of pride in what we do for CSC and Canadians. When we travel internationally, we are not seen as corrections, we are seen as Canadians. We represent Canada. I represent Canada.
Meachel, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with Let’s Talk Express. Congratulations on this amazing opportunity. Your leadership is valued and is a historical moment for women within CSC and the Guard of Honour.