Twitter: #marchtothetop

Carl Keenan


My name is Carl Patrick Keenan I live in the west end of Ottawa, and I come from the small town of Millbrook. My dad would send me into the woods with a 60lbs canvas tent, some canned food, a rusty old can opener and some of his old British military survival tricks for a weekend. I’d spend the entire weekend out in the bush pretending I was just like him. I grew up with a desire to be like him and my military brother, but I wasn’'t convinced the military was for me. I felt the calling to service, but what kind? I was gravitating towards policing but yet still found myself applying to the military.

My military career was a whirlwind of action. Edmonton for my Military Police Assessment Centre (MPAC), then off to St-Jean for Basic Training; I remember feeling ridiculous marching. Following my Police Academy training I was Posted to CFSU (Ottawa) and immediately off to Victoria for Close Protection (CP) selection where those four days of hell earned me a spot on the 6 week CP course. I deployed almost immediately following training as part of a 6 person VIP protection team to Kabul. All of us being Corporals, there was no issue with rank.

Things really changed on tour, the hardest part was the constant feeling like my life was on hold. My saving grace was five of the guys on my team were close personal friends whom I have trained with before. I injured my right foot in my last week of tour my stepping on a piece of broken glass. Not wanted to be sent home before my team mates, I pulled the glass out of my foot wrapped it up and carried on. It was evident upon returning home there was remnants of glass now digging into my bone and surgery was required to remove it. My return home in March 2008 was challenging. I had been told by some people close to me I had changed, but I did'n’t know what they were talking about. I felt the same. My marriage however did suffer upon my return and eventually ended. It wasn’'t until several months later that I realized I had changed, but for the better. Once I realized I could relax and not have to be so vigilant 24/7 things started to come into perspective. I have taken some of my emotional experiences from Afghanistan and used them to live a more relaxed everyday life now.

The best parts of my five year military career were the bonds that were built with my Brethren, and the time I now spend reflecting on my successes and hardships endured during my military career and most of all my tour to Afghanistan. I have always known what was important. Looking back I can credit my army time for allowing me to fully appreciate what I now have. I have been blessed with a beautiful healthy boy. Michael’s six-month birthday will coincide with our summit attempt.

I spent a lot of time challenging myself but for different reasons. I am trying to master the art of selflessness. I am taking part in this epic journey with the intent to not only raise money and awareness for our CF Members, but if I can be an inspiration to someone, then this has been a success for me. If someone watches documentary and decides they want to chase a dream or push their limits to do something they thought they could not, then I put myself out there for good reason. I am doing this not because I have to, but because I want to!


Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are pre-moderated/reviewed and published according to our submission guidelines.