“Mama Meinzinger”: recounting life at RMCC as “College Mom”

By: OCdt 26659 (III) Danielle Andela

Joy Meinzinger, wife of the outgoing Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada, has spent the last two years supporting not only her family but also the cadets and staff in their daily operations and living. Joy describes herself as the “behind the scenes” support for Major General Al Meinzinger, taking the time to focus on their children as they transition through his postings. She is the driving force behind the nine successful moves that they have managed as a family. Citing the fact that RMCC is full of young cadets, Joy (also known as “Mama Meinzinger”) had the opportunity “to play a more supportive role as a mother”. Always bringing a unique point of view to the work table, Joy was able to present MGen Meinzinger with her mother’s perspective during his time as Commandant.


Touched at the title, Joy commented on the difficulties of becoming engaged in the school since she was undergoing chemo-therapy during the first three months at the College. She made every moment count while she was on campus, getting to know the College cadets who she described as “the hardest working kids I have ever met”. Joy worked hard to bolster the morale of the College through kind gestures such as distributing candy canes and Valentine’s Day lollipops to every cadet. “I want them to feel at home and cared for” states Joy as she recounts how quickly the time has passed for this year’s fourth years.

Discussing some of the innovative ideas that she and her husband have come up with over his tenure as Commandant, Joy mentioned how she felt that often the BBQ’s and fourth year events were so crowded that there was not enough opportunity for real interaction between the Cadets and the Commandant.

After OCdt Lauren Van Veen, the previous Aide de Camp for MGen Meinzinger, mentioned the popularity of the Sunday brunches a former Commandant, (then Commodore) Bill Truelove and his wife Brenda, used to hold in the house.

Joy and MGen Meinzinger discussed holding luncheons for the fourth years of each squadron. Even though concerned for her healing process, Joy powered forward and, with the support of Principal Harry and Cheryl Kowal, they hosted twelve separate luncheons with each squadrons group of fourth years.

Out of all the experiences Joy sees as most memorable, she definitely cites the luncheons as her favourite experiences at the College. “It was funny to see how the cadets realized that our house was no different than their family homes and that Al, Harry, Cheryl and I were normal husbands and wives” says Joy.

She speaks about the fun everyone had (including the Commandant and Principal) telling stories of years as young cadets and the sort of trouble they would get into. Joy made it clear that the most important aspect of these lunches was “for the cadets to learn that even the Commandant and the Principal of RMCC faced challenges as well during their years here as cadets”.

The entire cadet wing will be sad to see Joy “Mama Meinzinger” leave however they wish her the best of luck in the future and in all that she may do!

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