Kaetlyn Corbould shines as an example of what women are capable of doing in their communities to create awareness surrounding military families. A veteran, a military spouse, MFRC Board of Directors Chair and Edmonton Salutes Program Co-ordinator, Corbould has taken the lead on highlighting the work of the military and its families in the city of Edmonton.
Before Corbould made a home in Edmonton and became a prominent member of the city’s military community, Corbould was a serving member herself, in the Australian Army. Her service in the military Down Under led her to Croatia, working with the UN. While she was in Croatia, she met her husband, a Canadian soldier, who was there in on a peacekeeping mission. The two met, fell in love and eventually Corbould moved to Canada to take on a new challenge as a military spouse.
During her husband’s 30 year career in the CAF, Corbould experienced many of the challenges military families face: deployments and numerous postings. Eventually, the family was posted to Edmonton and was fortunate enough to make a permanent home there.
As Corbould navigated her life in Edmonton, she decided to reach out to the MFRC for the first time.
“I think MFRCs across the country do incredible work for military families, and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Corbould.
She joined the MFRC Board as a member in October 2003 and by 2004 was chair of the board.
Being a part of the Edmonton MFRC opened another window of opportunity for her when she was introduced to the work the Edmonton Salutes Committee does to recognize the military. Corbould joined the committee in 2004 and took on a full-time role as military liaison and Edmonton Salutes Committee Program Co-ordinator.
With a mandate to recognize and honour the military and military families in the region, the Edmonton Salutes Committee was established in 1997 by then-mayor Bill Smith, who wanted a way to recognize the military’s move back to his city.
Over the years, Corbould has been a part of many projects that help the city of Edmonton recognize the military. One of the most heartfelt experiences for Corbould was welcoming troops back from Afghanistan.
Corbould and a group of volunteers would welcome troops at the Edmonton International Airport, often going to the airport anywhere from midnight to 6:00 a.m., handing out Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts. The soldiers would then be escorted by the Edmonton police down a street lined with yellow ribbons and grateful citizens.
“I always found it very moving, in fact, I think all of us had that reaction. We found it very moving and very emotional. There was, amongst the volunteers, a great sense of gratitude. I think one thing that resonated with me, and with others as well, is that how humble the soldiers were on their return and how grateful they were to us for coming out in the middle of the night to welcome them and offer a cup a coffee,” recalled Corbould.
Another project close to Corbould’s heart was an art piece commissioned by the mayor to commemorate the CAF. Corbould was the family representative on the chair for this art piece that took three years to complete. It was unveiled in September 2013 and is located outside city hall.
“I was so intimately involved with the process from start to finish. The unveiling of the art piece is something definitely close to my heart,” stated Corbould.
Other projects include acknowledging significant military anniversaries, supporting the MFRC and working alongside the Legion.
The only committee of its kind in Canada, Corbould believes the work she is part of helps everyday Edmontonians understand the military.
“We take great pride as a city in recognizing our military members and their families…it’s a great opportunity for us as a committee to develop an awareness amongst the citizens and in the capital region about the military and what they do and cast a little bit of light on how military life works,” said Corbould.