Local Sarnia, Ontario – Ex cadet, 22906 Chelsea Braybrook (RMC ’04), helps rebuild
By CATHY DOBSON
The Observer – Sarnia, Ontario – 15 April
Cathy Gibson sees her daughter’s smile in the photographs sent back from Afghanistan and she’s not surprised Capt. Chelsea Braybrook wants to extend her tour of duty.
“I think she feels she’s needed over there. I think she really believes in it,” says Gibson. “Of course I worry. Any mother would. But I feel good about what she’s doing.”
Braybrook, 25, grew up in Sarnia and volunteered as a reservist for a six-month tour with the Canadian Forces that ends in June.
She tells her mom she wants to stay at least another three months to help rebuild a radio station in Zabul, a province under siege near Pakistan.
Braybrook is not in an active fighting role, although she carries a firearm. She spends her time working on a variety of rebuilding projects that have included recruiting Afghans to train as police, building schools and educating girls.
She’s also spent time assisting in hospitals where female Afghan patients often get less attention because male doctors aren’t allowed to treat them.
“Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything Chelsea can’t do,” says her uncle, David Braybrook of Sarnia. “She’s a high achiever. Whatever she does, she really goes for it.”
Chelsea Braybrook was born and raised in Sarnia and has numerous family members still living here.
During her years as a high school student at Northern Collegiate, Braybrook was a cadet. Later she attended Royal Military College in Kingston and became a chemical engineer.
“We’re very proud of her,” said her mother, who now lives in London. “I see pictures of her and she looks so happy. I understand why she wants to stay in Afghanistan.”
Part of her duties have involved improving communication for the Afghan people. Taliban rocket attacks have reduced capacity at the American-built power plant in Zabul and shut down the Zabul radio station. Recent reports stated 17 Afghan road workers were killed in a subsequent attack.
Braybrook wants to stay in Zabul after gaining the trust of the local Afghan governor only a few weeks ago. They discussed the damaged radio station and began making plans to rebuild it.
Radio communication is key to getting the central government’s message to the people, and Braybrook has said she wants to see the project through to completion.
“She’s working very hard, seven days a week, and is sometimes exhausted,” her mother said. “But she’s got so much energy. If she wants to stay until September or October, that’s what she should do.”