By Darlene Blakeley
It's a long way from working in a Royal Canadian Navy frigate on an overseas deployment to meeting the Prime Minister and Governor General of Canada at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Yet that's just what happened to Master Seaman Chris Switzer, a hull technician aboard HMCS Vancouver.
MS Switzer was on the way home to Esquimalt, B.C., from his ship's six-month deployment on Operation Mobile in the Mediterranean Sea, when he learned he would be one of the first 60 Canadians to receive the Queen's Jubilee Medal February 6. He was landed in Panama City for the flight to Ottawa, and will return to the ship in San Diego for the last leg of her journey home.
MS Switzer was selected for his contributions to his shipmates and to numerous local charity activities.
"Although an expert within his trade, MS Switzer's true quality has been shown in his willingness to go the extra mile, to help out his shipmates and to promote a positive atmosphere," says Petty Officer 1st Class Donald Anderson, HMCS Vancouver's senior hull technician. "He has an immediate positive effect on a ship's morale in that he is able to generate momentum amongst his peers with the strength of his character and personality."
Vancouver's Marine System's Engineering Officer Lieutenant (Navy) Lance Mooney agrees. "MS Switzer's personal sense of ownership and professionalism often brings him to the ship in his off hours to ensure that the Marine Systems Engineering Department is ahead of the curve and prepared for key milestones."
Throughout the Diamond Jubilee Year, 11,000 deserving members of the Canadian Forces will receive the medal for having made a significant contribution within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada.