About Us

About Us

The National Naval Reserve Monument Association

The National Naval Reserve Monument Association (NNRMA) is a volunteer association of former and current naval reservists and their supporters. It was founded in the fall of 2021 to oversee the revitalization of the National Naval Reserve Monument in anticipation of the Naval Reserve’s 100th anniversary.

Executive Committee

Sheyla Dussault, Chairperson

Ms. Dussault spent her teenage volunteering with the Air Cadets, later serving in the Cadet Instructor Corps before transferring to the Naval Reserves in 1993. She serves as an Intelligence officer.

Her military career has always been part time. In 2007, she deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as the Deputy Commander of the Support Group at Headquarters ISAF, a service battalion of 400 persons from 40 different countries. She finished her tour as an intelligence analyst with the Regional Command South desk.  From 2018 to 2021, she took command of HMCS CARLETON. She was appointed Intelligence Branch Senior Advisor for the Naval Reserves in 2021, her current position.

Ms Dussault’s career has been with the federal government, managing international military cooperation programs, improving equipment and doctrinal interoperability. In 2017, she moved to the Canadian Coast Guard where she managed the maritime Search and Rescue Program, contributing to saving lives in Canadian waters. She now works at Public Safety, in addition to volunteering with the Navy League, and now the Monument revitalization project.

Thomas DeWolf

Thomas brings to the NNRMA fund raising team a unique background in leadership and business development, combining both public and private sector careers over the past 45 years. Tom began his career as an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy with regular and reserve service. In 1981, Thomas joined the External Affairs Department with postings in The Hague, Hong Kong and Singapore. Thomas then joined a private firm based back in Hong Kong in 1990 and spent 10 years in Hong Kong, France and The Netherlands, focused on trade between Europe and Asia. 

Returning to Canada in 2000, Thomas joined the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a federal crown corporation. Thomas led the business development team in various executive positions over the next 17 years. 

Before and after retirement in 2017, Thomas has maintained his connections with the RCN through volunteering on the Board of the Naval Association of Canada-Ottawa branch, leading the efforts to highlight naval veterans at the Battle of the Atlantic Dinners, and being a mentor to young businesspeople in Canada and around the world.

Andrew Higdon

Andrew joined the Naval Reserve in 2007 at HMCS CATARAQUI as a Naval Warfare Officer. He completed his training while attending Queens and McGill Universities and has served as Deck Officer and Navigation Officer on Canadian warships at sea. He is a current member of HMCS Carleton.

In his civilian life, he is a lawyer with a national law firm practicing in the area of trusts & estates and corporate & commercial law. He is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, the County of Carleton Law Association, the Ontario Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association and the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Andrew was a founding member of the Cornerstone Housing for Women Young Professionals Advisory Board and has served as a board member of Odyssey Theatre. He was the founding chairperson of the NNRMA.

He lives in Ottawa with his wife and young son.

Yvonne Olszewski

Most of Ms. Olszewski’s civilian career was in humanitarian work with the Red Cross. There she worked in the Secretary General’s Office, then moved to International Services where she used her language skills and derived great satisfaction in reuniting family members separated by war or disaster. With the birth of her daughter, she became a stay-at-home mom, continuing her part-time career with the Naval Reserve. Throughout her almost 40 years with the Reserves, she has enjoyed a variety of diverse and challenging roles.

She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing her contribution with the Reserves and volunteer work within the community, including over 25 years as a volunteer Spotter in Civil Air Search and Rescue, membership/chair of school council, and working with children with learning disabilities,

Family and friends are most important in her life. Other loves include travel (a highlight being climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania), dancing, and keeping fit by hiking, outdoor work and kickboxing. As a thrill seeker, she loves experiencing new adventures and challenges.

Howie Smith

Howie Smith (BA, OMM, CD1) is a member of the Naval Association of Canada having served as Vice-President and President of the Ottawa Branch. He was a Surface Ship Officer in the RCN serving in seagoing positions on both coasts and in staff assignments.

Service at sea included command of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships TERRA NOVA and FRASER (1991-1995). He graduated from the Canadian Forces Command and Staff Course, the Advanced Strategic Studies Programme, and the Defence Resources Management Course. Within the Navy, Mr. Smith served as a Director-General and Director on the Maritime Staff, and as a Project Director in several Major Crown Projects.

Following naval service, he joined an Ottawa-based firm (Lansdowne Technologies) and has subsequently been engaged in providing project management and strategic planning consulting services.

Steering Committee

The NNRMA is grateful for the expert advice of its steering committee.

Cmdre M.B. Mulkins, chairperson
HCol Jeff Westeinde
HCapt (N) Nik Nanos

About the Naval Reserve

Thousands of Canadians from across the country serve in the Canadian Armed Forces as Naval Reservists during times of conflict and peace while also engaging in civilian life.

Established in 1923, Canada’s Naval Reserve was the vision of Rear-Admiral Walter Hose who, as director of the naval service during the volatile interwar years, authorize the creation of a ‘citizen navy’ to train sailors from non-coastal cities and bolster pan-Canadian support for the fledgling Royal Canadian Navy.

With divisions in major cities across Canada, the Naval Reserve became critical for mobilization efforts during the Second World War (1939-1945). By war’s end, Canada’s Navy was among the world’s largest due primarily to naval reservists who made up more than 80 percent of the naval service at peak strength.

Post-war, new generations of sailors continued to be recruited and trained as Reservists. Gradually, the Naval Reserve’s roll transformed from one of augmenting the Regular Force in meeting global challenges to being an operationally integrated “One Navy” force.

Today’s Naval Reservists deploy internationally taking part in operations and exercises. They are also active community members, providing vital emergency services, as well as participating in local events.

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