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    VIPs attending the 8th annual bonspiel were piped onto the ice for the opening ceremonies. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)

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    Brigadier General Nicolas Eldaoud throws out the first rock. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)



8th Annual Colonel Karen Ritchie Memorial Bonspiel celebrates RCEME spirit

Military News

By: Lisa Brazeau

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

At the opening ceremonies of the eighth Annual Colonel Karen Ritchie Memorial Bonspiel (52nd annual Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (RCEME) Curling Bonspiel), Chief of Staff for Military Personnel Command Brigadier General (BGen) Nicolas Eldaoud described the technicians and soldiers affiliated with the RCEME Branch as “the most dedicated, talented, hard working and proud technicians and soldiers in the Armed Forces.”

BGen Eldaoud was among VIPs, including 4th Canadian Division Support Base Technical Services Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Myriam Sanchez-Maloney, former RCEME Branch Colonel-Commandant BGen (Ret’d) Peter Holt, and family members of the bonspiel’s namesake, who took part in the official start of the event on April 8 with the throwing of the ceremonial rock.

The bonspiel was held at the Pembroke Curling Club from April 7 to 10 and featured 36 teams across Ontario consisting of both military personnel and civilians.

Organized by 2 Service Battalion Maintenance Company, event OPI Lieutenant Rob Kilpatrick said the bonspiel is an ongoing tradition for RCEME, bringing together various facets of the branch. He participated for the first time last year after arriving in Petawawa. “It was a great time, and an opportunity to meet a lot of different people,” he explained. “RCEME is involved in a lot of different units and this is a great way for them to all come together, meet up with friends and make new friends. It’s really about bringing the RCEME Corps together.”

Col Karen Ritchie had attended the RCEME bonspiel since 1996. She moved to Canada from England with her family in July 1973, graduating from RMC in 1985 with a Bachelor of Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Over the course of her military career, she served as the Base Maintenance Workshop Support Officer in Lahr, Germany, commanded the Vehicle Repair Platoon, 4 Service Battalion, 2 IC of Maintenance Company at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, and the Canadian Forces Gender Integration and Employment Equity Office in Ottawa.

In April 2002, she deployed as Deputy Commanding Officer of the OP Apollo National Support Unit in the Arabian Gulf Region, after which she assumed command of Area Support Unit Toronto.

Colonel Ritchie was promoted to Colonel in June 2004 and in August 2006, was selected as Director Omnibus Mounted Soldier Survivability Project.

She tragically passed away as a result of injuries she sustained in a car accident on October 13, 2008. At the time, she was the Commander of 5 Area Support Group.

Taking the ‘A’ Event this year was the Retired Weapons Guys team of WO Jeff Dohery, MWO Tom Murphy, WO Wally Lundell and WO McFarlane. Team Cogswell of Sgt Cogswell, LCol Hart, Maj Schmidt and Capt Scott took the ‘B’ Event.

Hack Attack with team members MCpl Thomson, Cpl Leblanc, Cpl Crystal and Cpl Girard won the ‘C’ Event. Team 3 Guys and a Girl won the ‘D’ Event. Team members were Cpl Kight, Cpl Hollett, MCpl Skuce and Cpl Van Allen. Winning the ‘E’ Event was Team Petawawa which included MWO Evans, CWO Kelly and MWO Bower and Kelly Dove.