ANAVETS Shoulder to Shoulder

November 2017

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by Kita Szpak B iloxi (Katrina Hurricane) and now Haiti (Op Horatio – Hurricanes Disaster Relief): it's 2008. The lone Canadian frigate has been deployed there to help survivors cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna. On board, a sobbing QL5 ranked naval electronic technician closes the door to a small darkened room and crashes. He can easily use his gun during Panama security watches in the middle of the night. After all, "dying is easy; living is hard…" Who is this guy? Daniel Morin was born on January 6, 1980 to Gemma and Gerald in Edmundston, New Brunswick (NB). With a population of about 20,000, everyone seemed to know that Daniel's alcoholic dad had the poorest house on the poorest street in town. His mother, then living in Grand-Falls, NB, had also been afflicted with severe depression due to an unfortunately difficult life and childhood. Though having food, shelter and even receiving gifts at Christ- mas, Daniel grew up in a household where fighting was the norm. Already bullied in the neighbourhood, and experiencing constant anxiety at home, he saw school as the only way out of a personal hell. It was his ticket to a better life. Having this clarity of thought at a relatively young age, showed the inner strong attitude and perseverance that Daniel knew would sustain him through thick and thin. As long as he could rely on himself, he would be fine. During his six years in high school, Daniel retreated into the library at Grand Fall's Polyvalente Thomas- Albert to get away from bullies where he also indulged his aptitude and passion for science, physics, biology and particularly space. Initially, he had wanted to be an astronaut – Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau and Chris Hatfield were his heroes. Focusing on studying, brought its just award: Daniel graduated with the second highest marks in his school, and won a scholarship worth $10,500 to the Faculty of Engi- neering at U of Ottawa. He settled into residence, however, there was a price to pay. With no friends, no support from home, no extracurricular activities and an ever-building anxiety, he dropped out before the end of the first semester in the fall of 1998. Returning to Edmundston but not living at home, Daniel did not give up. That winter, he applied for the second semester at the University of Moncton's campus located there. Working nightshifts at Sobey's and later as a janitor for up to 26 hours a week, he 10 SHOULDER TO SHOULDER LEADING SEAMAN DANIEL MORIN A SOLDIER'S STORY: NEVER, EVER, EVER SURRENDER TO ADVERSITY

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