Weapons tech is ‘steadfast’ doing his job

Corporal Bradley Birrell
Corporal Bradley Birrell is active both on and off the Base, helping out when called upon. For this and his work ethic, the Saskatchewan born-and-raised weapons tech was named CFB Shilo’s 2018 Soldier of the Year. Photo: Shilo Stag

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Jenna Dulewich – Shilo Stag

Corporal Bradley Birrell is a believer in treating people the way you want to be treated, and it is through that positive attitude that the corporal was awarded with the CFB Shilo Solider of the Year award.

Recommended for CFB Shilo’s 2018 Solider of the Year because of “his steadfast performance, his demonstrated leadership in the Base Weapon’s section, and his commitment to fostering a cohesive and dynamic team,” the corporal said “it is nice to be recognized.”

While the weapons tech is known for working in Base Maintenance, Cpl Birrell has also volunteered with United Way, acted as a team captain and competitor for Ex MOUNTAIN MAN, and has also been involved with the Canadian Army Sentinel program since its inauguration on Base.

“Honestly, [the Sentinel program] is for anybody who needs someone to talk to,” the corporal explained, noting it was one of his more proud accomplishments.

Initiated at 2nd Canadian Division in 2007, the Sentinel program was brainstormed by chaplains and social workers who wanted to start a proactive volunteer group of all ranks to ensure soldiers had access to the right resources.

“It’s soldiers helping soldiers. It’s easier for someone to talk to one of their own ranks or position,” Cpl Birrell explained. “Anything from trying to help if they have mental health [issues] or are struggling through stress, you help them find resources for help.”

Introduced across Canadian Bases in 2015, the Sentinel program attracted Cpl Birrell immediately as an opportunity to volunteer in CFB Shilo.

“Through high school I was in the peer support program, and before high school, I was in a small town where I grew up in a situation where if someone was in trouble, we’d help them out,” Cpl Birrell explained.

Originally from Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, the corporal said he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) after hearing Second World War stories from his great-grandfather. Cpl Birrell said he would love to spend the rest of his career in Shilo. “I grew up in a town of 300 [population]. It’s nice and small, feels like home,” he said.

When asked how his friends and family reacted to the award, Cpl Birrell responded that he works with most of his friends, so they were able to celebrate together.

“It was all high-fives, handshakes and beers,” Cpl Birrell said with a laugh. “Really, just treat people how you want to be treated and if you’re nice to people, people will be nice to you.”

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  • Corporal Bradley Birrell
  • Corporal Bradley Birrell
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