A military mother’s encouragement and pride

Article / May 8, 2020 / Project number: 20-0010

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By Lisa Nault, Army Public Affairs 

Gatineau, Quebec — “I always support him. I’m not crazy about it, but I support him,” says Carole Richer of her son’s military career. Master Corporal Danny Losier of 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada completed his first deployment in December, 2019, arriving home just in time for Christmas. It was a trying time for Carole, but this mom would never stand in the way of her son.

When, at the age of 23, Danny decided to join the Canadian Army, it was no surprise to Carole.

As a child, Danny loved being outside. He spent his days in the woods, building cabins and climbing trees. Danny’s love of the outdoors earned him the nickname Robin Hood. 

“When I was doing the laundry, I always worried that I’d find bugs in Danny’s pockets,” she says, laughing. “He’d come inside to eat, and then he’d be right back outside. And he’s still like that today.”

As a teen, Danny learned to shoot with a BB gun. Looking back, Carole thinks this could have been the first spark to his successful career in artillery. Carole also cites her family’s history as a potential inspiration: Her father was in the Navy, and her uncles and grandfather were also military. Ultimately, it was the suggestion of Danny’s stepfather that made him take those first steps to enlisting. 

“My first reaction was, ‘no’,” says Carole. “I was worried for him, and I still have a hard time with it. But I got to choose my own career, so should he. So, I tried to let go.”

Part of letting go was helping Danny through the recruitment process. At the time, Carole was working near the recruiting office, and she hand-delivered his application. She remembers asking the recruiting officer what the difference was between artillery and infantry.

“He said, artillery is on the second line. And I said oh, wonderful,” she says chuckling. “That made me feel like it was ok.”

Carole wrote to her son every week while he was in basic training. When he graduated, she travelled to St. Jean-sur-Richelieu with the rest of Danny’s family to celebrate his accomplishment.  

“That was the first time I saw him in uniform. And it really hit me, he is in the army.”

After graduation, Danny moved to Valcartier where he would train for 10 years before his first deployment in 2019 to Iraq. Carole recalls her reaction to this news.  

“I told him, ‘Could you pick any other country, Danny?’ And he told me it’s not a dangerous mission. He said, ‘Don’t worry mom. I was trained for this’.” And Carole had no choice but to trust him.  

Despite her own fears about him going to a country that she considered dangerous, Carole continued to support her son. She saw him off at the airport when he left for Iraq, and she stayed connected as best she could over text messaging and Facetime. 

“I know Danny knows I was worried, but he doesn’t know to what extent. And I wouldn’t tell him at the time,” Carole says. “I had to be there for him. To listen, to encourage, and to send him support. I used to say to Danny, ‘Hang in there. You are strong. You can do it’.”

Reading the news about the situation in the Middle East worried Carole. She found that talking to her husband and daughter about her fears helped her to cope, as did writing out her feelings in a journal.

“It was just good to get it out of my system,” she says. 

Carole received steady advice from a friend in a military family: “Just take it one day at a time.” And that’s what Carole did for the six months that her son was overseas on Operation IMPACT, in support of NATO Mission Iraq. 

No parents want to see their children in harm’s way, but they also respect the need their children have to answer this call.

On this Mother’s Day, Carole shares her thoughts with other military mothers who are separated from their children. 

“Even though deep inside you don’t want them there, that’s what they chose, and that’s what they want. It’s what they work for and it’s their goal. And I’m very, very, proud of Danny.” 

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