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Pillars of Survival

Heroes Remember

How did I survive? I have to say that I had a... we stayed in a building and where we were two per room and I had a young, a young captain from the Royal vingt-deuxième Régiment was staying with me so and he was young and rambunctious and all full of energy and being a combat arms he was fairly keen on, on his survival skills and how to get ready for this that and the other thing and he was a little, a little brash, you know he was a little cocky, I would say. But he taught me a lot of good things and, and we supported each other in terms of discussion and what to do, not to do and, and working together. So, you relied a lot on your peers just to go out and talk to them after a day's work or after a night's work, go back and talk about what you see, what you, so that's how you survive, at first. And then you survive with, with the ability to, to talk to home a a little bit, receive some letters and, and that's the other aspect that's very important and sometimes we might have not have the opportunity to get that and that makes it very difficult. So, that's the second point of survive, and the third point of survive is you try to find something positive at the end of the day that you might have done or that you have done or your peers have done that indicates a Rwanda may have saved a life or protected a family or delivered food or medication to, to injured people. So those maybe are the three tenets of survival when you're in, you're in a place like Rwanda and Afghanistan or Bosnia, for that matter. So I'm not alone in here in the survival aspect of it, all those people, I think, I think they would agree that there was three ways of, you need those three pillars, in order to go through this process.

Mr. St. Denis describes what he believes to be the three pillars of survival on peacekeeping missions.

Jean Yves St. Denis

Mr. Jean Yves St. Denis grew up in Rodden, Quebec. He decided university wasn't for him, so he enlisted with the Canadian Army after graduating from high school in 1986. Mr. St. Denis had a very diverse 21 year career with the Canadian military, serving in Calgary, Germany, Ottawa, Rwanda, and Valcartier. While in Rwanda, Mr. St. Denis worked closely with General Dallaire, and witnessed many atrocities which affected him deeply for a long time after his return to Canada. With three overseas peacekeeping missions to his credit, Mr. St. Denis retired from the military in 2004, at which time he began working for Shell Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Jean Yves St. Denis
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

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