Sailor of the Quarter known for promoting fitness, helping others
By Ryan Melanson – Trident
He may not have been born in Canada, but Leading Seaman Eric Saenz, originally from Costa Rica, has become a valuable member of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), and was recently named the Atlantic Fleet’s newest Sailor of the Quarter.
A weapons engineering technician aboard HMCS Charlottetown, LS Saenz moved to Toronto with his family in the early 90s and joined the RCN in 2009. He’s since become known as an energetic member who excels in his role as a supervisor and technician, while never passing up an opportunity to help out his peers.
He was specifically credited with coordinating mission critical repairs to communication equipment like the UHF and HF suite prior to the ship’s deployment to Op NANOOK in 2018, and LS Saenz said those opportunities to use his expertise are some of the most rewarding moments on the job.
“It’s a nice feeling to be the person who can fix things, especially when it’s communications, which is one of the most important functions on the ship. I love troubleshooting and trying to find the answers to problems we get with our equipment.”
He’s also an avid athlete, and along with being a member of the championship-winning CFB Halifax Men’s Soccer team, he holds a secondary position as Sports Custodian in HMCS Charlottetown, and recently helped organize sports days for the ship during stops in Greenland and Iceland late last year.
LS Saenz has also earned Bravo Zulus for helping to prevent an electrical fire in HMCS Charlottetown during a recent evening watch, for working as a VIP tour guide during the DEFSEC 2018 conference, and for being an active member in his community and volunteer leader with his Church.
“This is an auspicious moment for LS Saenz. He’s an important member of our ship’s company, and it’s great to see one of our own being recognized in this way,” said Commander Nancy Setchell, HMCS Charlottetown’s Commanding Officer.
The official presentation of the Sailor of the Quarter award was made in HMCS Charlottetown’s hangar on January 16 by Captain (Navy) Andrew Hingston, Deputy Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic. It also comes with a $50 Falls Lake gift card and two extra days of leave, though colleagues joked that LS Saenz may need to be forced to take the time off work.
For his part, LS Saenz said the recognition was unexpected, and that it was a special moment to receive his award in front of his peers and with his wife and children present. He added that his command team, department supervisors and his peers in HMCS Charlottetown all deserve some of the credit for his successes.
“It is a big honour, but I was very surprised. You never really expect things like this, I just try to do the best that I can at my job, and I have a great, supportive group of people to serve with.”
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