A Glimpse Into The Past – Hope For The Future

Written by: Jessie Tylre Williams
December Issue

“When we allow the magic within ourselves to unfold, the possibilities are limitless!” Author Jessie Tylre Williams

Corporal (Retired) Terry Haakman

A gentleman by nature and a Soldier by choice, Corporal Terry Haakman has lived in both worlds and finds solace in knowing that his faith in humanity has been restored. Being and living in the darkest corners of the earth and witnessing how humanity can turn on one another, Corporal Haakman sees light through people and organizations such as Clara Hughes, Can Praxis and Wounded Warriors Canada. All too familiar with what kind of tragedy war can bring, Terry finds his own peace in working with a myriad of programs specialized for Veterans and finding that through his life experiences in the military he can now use his battles to help others who face the same war(s) within themselves.

I have never had the honour of meeting Mr. Haakman in person, however I have had many conversations with him. What stood out to me most in our conversations was that Corporal Haakman had a deep compassion for humanity and wanted to be the change he longed to see in the world.

Corporal Haakman resides along side his Service Dog Koda, and uses her to guide him through daily life, which a lot of us take for granted.

Thank you Corporal Haakman for all you have done for our Country and for continuing to be such an important part of it.

My conversation with Corporal Terry Haakman:

Q: What is your position as a “Soldier”?

A: I was a Radio Operator in the Canadian Army and I held the rank of Corporal

Q: When did you first start in your line of work?

A: In June of 1996

Q: What is your military background?

A: I was in the Canadian Army from 1996 to 2005 followed by a role as a civilian defense contractor overseas from 2006 to 2011.

Q: Where are you serving and what is day-to-day life like?

A: I am currently retired and living in Red Deer, AB where I am an IT Project Manager for an oil and gas company.

Q: If you are retired or no longer in service what is it like now?

A: Adjusting to civilian life was tougher than I thought it would have been. In fact, I struggled so much with it, I ended up deploying myself overseas as a civilian contractor because the environment, the work and the mentality was familiar. I’ve been back in Canada for 4 years and I still find myself struggling to integrate back in to society.

Q: What do you find the most rewarding?

A: Sharing my personal stories of struggle and success in the hopes that one person will find some clarity in their own lives.

Q: What is your most memorable moment?

A: I have enough memorable moments from the military to write a book. My most inspiring moment came to me years after I left the Service. I was, and still am, completely moved by ordinary citizens who dedicate so much of their lives to help Veterans in need. People like Jessie Tylre Williams, Clara Hughes and organizations like CanPraxis, Wounded Warriors Canada have truly restored my faith in humanity – which says a lot coming from somebody who has seen the worst possible side of humanity.

Q: Has your view of veterans, the military or service men and women changed?

A: Regardless of their reasons for committing to a life of service, I am proud of our currently serving members and our veterans. My heart breaks at the thought that they may have to struggle the same way I did. I am very grateful to have been a part of the Canadian Armed Forces legacy.

Q: If you could say something to the world to make an impact, what would you say?

A: Take your time to truly understand the people around you and try to formulate your own opinions. It’s easy to get to wrapped up in the mob mentality so don’t let uneducated voices guide your decisions.

Q: Is there something you would like to share with us about your personal life?

A: The military has had a significant impact on my life – both good and bad. I’m thankful for the support of my wife Sladjana and my two sons, Caleb and Evan along with my very caring mother and father. Another big player in my life in my PTSD Service Dog, Koda. She has helped me in ways I never thought a dog could.

Q: Is there someone you would like to pay Tribute to?

A: Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer (1981 – 2007)