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    Pictured with the artist are (back left to right) CMED Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Jody McArel and Master Warrant Officer Denis Goyette, Depot Sergeant Major. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)

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    A mural painted by Kingston-based artist Shane Goudreau (in front) for Central Medical Equipment Depot’s (CMED) 110th anniversary was unveiled on June 8. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)



Mural celebrates 110 years of CMED

By Lisa Brazeau

Posted on Thursday June 14, 2018

Central Medical Equipment Depot (CMED), the oldest regular force medical unit in the Canadian Armed Forces, celebrated 110 years in 2017.

To mark this significant milestone in a permanent way, the unit commissioned Kingston-based artist Shane Goudreau to paint a mural reflecting CMED’s more than a century of history.

From CMED’s stand up on November 29, 1907 in Ottawa as Number 10 Detachment Permanent Army Medical Corps to its current location, established in 1960, at Garrison Petawawa on Montgomery Road, the 10’ by 6’ painting is a journey from the past through to present-day operations critical to the care of CAF personnel both at home and on deployed operations. It was officially unveiled on June 8.

“CMED is very historical, we have a lot of photos from the past and I thought is there a way we can capture that for our 110th,” said Captain Leslie Fillmore, CMED Adjutant and Operations Officer.

Goudreau is no stranger to Garrison Petawawa, having painted a series of four murals to mark the 100th anniversary of 2 Field Ambulance in 2014. At the time, he had expressed an interested in doing similar projects at the Garrison, so CMED Purchaser and Medical Technician Corporal Rachel Duguay reached out, having grown up in the Kingston area with the artist. Cpl Duguay organized everything with Shane and ensured he had all the historical references, stories and pictures needed to complete his job.

The rest, as they say - in this case both literally and figuratively - is history. “I took some photos of the building and some equipment and the rest I left to Shane and his artistic abilities to put it all together,” Capt Fillmore said. “I saw the murals he did for 2 Field Amb and the stories he tells in those, and I knew he could do that for CMED.”

Goudreau describes himself as a “big history buff” who invests considerable time in meticulous research that includes speaking with a unit’s military personnel, subject-matter experts who help ensure his work is as accurate as possible. “It’s going to be displayed in the unit, so you have to make sure all the badges are correct and the equipment is realistic, as well as how things might look in the field when they are doing their job,” he explained. “I like the challenge of being able to come up with designs to commemorate significant moments in history.”

The mural took Goudreau about 90 hours to complete, as well as time spent adding more detail to the work after its arrival at CMED, where display cases contain actual historical pieces of equipment and supplies. “When you can hold something in your hands, turn it around and see what it was made of, it gives you that extra bit of realism,” he said. “If I see an old piece of medical equipment that just blows me away, well I’m going to put that in there. If I can get really inspired by seeing a few things like that, it’s going to make the painting that much better.”

The piece itself captures significant aspects of the unit and work it has done for the past 110 years - from a World War I medic bandaging the wounds of an injured soldier to the 2017 Change of Command between outgoing CMED Commanding Officer (CO) Major Rachel Comeau and its current CO Lieutenant-Commander Jody McArel.

The design also incorporates stamps of both the King and Queen, representing the Commonwealth, surgical tools and shipping containers past and present, and the BB-104 building as it appears today. “I think it’s a great blend of the old with the new and it represents everything that CMED has done throughout the years until the present, and even more so now,” said LCdr McArel. “His accuracy is very well done, and based on what we had seen of his previous work, we knew it would be something that would capture our history.”

The mural will be displayed in the lobby, and will stay with CMED regardless of where they may move in the future.

It’s important for the unit to remember its roots as it evolves to meet future requirements, added Capt Fillmore. “To know where we’re going we need to know where we’ve been and I think Shane has captured that immensely,” he said.