From Family to Forces: Military spouse fulfills dream and balances both
Inspired by her experiences as a cadet in her youth, Cpl. Melanie Beaulieu put her lifelong dream of joining the military on hold while she raised her family. Now six years into her military career, Beaulieu works at the Infantry School in Gagetown while balancing family life with her passion for sports and volunteering with cadets.
Though Beaulieu now works as a Resources Management Support Clerk, it wasn’t until 2010 that she could make her lifelong dream a reality. As a teenager, Beaulieu joined the cadets, and as a girl raised by a single mom, she found a second family with the cadets. She recalls spending summers playing all kinds of sports and getting a taste of life in the military. At 17, she had made up her mind to join the CAF, and then she met her husband.
Soon after meeting her husband, Marc, the two decide to build a family and Beaulieu decided to put her career on hold as she raised her children. Today, she is the proud mother of three children, two boys and one girl.
Though she wasn’t a serving member herself, Beaulieu was well versed in military life as a military spouse. She spent years supporting her husband’s career through postings and five deployments, staying strong for her children.
All the while, Beaulieu would watch the experiences her husband had and waited for the day she could also join in.
“To see him have all those opportunities, to have all these challenges, chance to travel, do sports at work, I thought he had the best job,” recalled Beaulieu.
Finally at the age of 31, Beaulieu took the plunge and joined the military. The decision came with its challenges at first when she was separated from her family for eleven months.
“I have to say that it wasn’t easy, but when we have all support from the family while we are away, everything can be possible,” noted Beaulieu.
In 2011, the entire family was located to Gagetown, New Brunswick.
Today, her job in the Infantry School keeps her on her toes and requires attention to detail.
“As a clerk, we need to stay up-to-date on everything. When a member comes to see us, it could be about everything. We have to deal with claim, Military writing, pay system, personnel records, release, parental leave, etc. It is a lot of knowledge. It is important to read all the directives and new information about our trade…if your car is broken, you go to the garage, and they have different departments. But as a clerk we only have one department, a member will rely on their clerk to proceed their admin,” said Beaulieu.
Besides being a passionate military member, Beaulieu is enthusiastic about taking part in athletics. She plays for the badminton team on base and is currently preparing to travel to Halifax for regionals. She has encouraged her children to take part in sports as well and has been coach of the girls soccer team for ten years, is a board member for the Oromocto Soccer Association, and a volunteer with Oromocto Minor Hockey Association.
“I strongly think that keeping my kids in sports, it is to keep them away from trouble. Get good marks at school and being in shape, what more can we ask,” stated Beaulieu.
The busy soccer mom also takes the time out to give back to the thing that started it all: cadets. For the last three years, she’s a volunteer for the Cadets Corps 1541 Fort Nashwack.
“It was important for me to give my kids the chance to discover cadets and all the challenges with cadets,” said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu believes that women have as much of a chance to thrive in the military as men since the CAF has the same expectations from both.
“If it is a woman’s dream to join the military, the only thing I could say is to go for it. It is great chance to have challenges and life experiences. It is the example that I want to show/ teach my kids. If you want to do something, the only person who will stop you from doing it is yourself,” said Beaulieu.