Members of the military community attended an intimate evening with retired Col. Russ Mann and his wife Lucie Mann through the MFRC-PEI virtual platform on June 21. “Life after the uniform- the best is yet to come,” was an interactive session informing audiences about the road to transition.
In the PEI MFRC’s virtual interactive platform, Russ and Lucie took audiences through the journey of transition- from the depart with dignity to coming out a veteran on the other side. They also talked about resources available through Veterans Affairs and the Legion.
The Manns discussed what it means to develop a new routine for the family and how the veteran can overcome the low energy level and uncertainty that many face.
“Patience and time bring you to a ‘new normal’ and a new routine which can be very fulfilling if you allow yourself to look forward,” admitted Mann.
Retired Col. Mann, once Military Family Services Director, retired just over a year ago after serving nearly 36 years in the military, joining the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) right out of high school.
“Part of transition was figuring out what it’s like to be on the other side, the civilian aspect,” said Mann.
The transition is an experience both unique and similar for many in the veteran community, and Mann felt it was something important to talk about.
“I heard a lot about those who transitioned well and those who did not. Our experience had some ‘moments’, and we were asked if we would share our experience. We are also impressed with the virtual programming offered by the PEI MFRC – it overcomes distance and makes information far more accessible for families,” stated Mann.
Russ’s key message, learned from his own experiences, is that it takes a village.
“It takes a village for transition as well because of what I used to take for granted for support in the military forces framework now I have to go out and figure how it works in the civilian community. In some things your family is your best ally and somethings you have to learn and discover on your own,” explained Mann.
Also during Tuesday night’s session, Lucie spoke about healthcare and how families and veterans can navigate that aspect of transition.
“Thank you once again Russ and Lucie for sharing your journey in this interactive virtual workshop. The points that were brought about are valid and extremely helpful to any Canadian Armed Forces family who is preparing for their release,” stated Margaret MacKenzie, Virtual Program Coordinator, PEI MFRC.
Since his retirement, Russ has been volunteering with several organizations, including the Vanier Institute, and is working from home in his entrepreneurial venture.
To listen to a recorded version of the session click here.
For more information about upcoming virtual programs and/or to suggest ideas for other interactive virtual programs, please email Margaret MacKenzie at [email protected] or visit the PEI MFRC Facebook