Recruitment and Communications Services
Telephone: 613-236-1393
1-800 637-6859
Ext. 2344
Quick Links

Graduate profile ‒ Richard Boutet: Self-sacrifice

He has a mischievous look and a disarming sense of humour. And yet, like many of his comrades who served in the Canadian Armed Forces, Sergeant Richard Boutet, now retired, has his share of visible and invisible injuries. On the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918, we met with this former member of the military and SPU graduate. A thought-provoking lesson in self-sacrifice, courage and openness.


Moving up the ranks

After joining the reserves at age 16, Richard Boutet gave 29 years of his life to the Canadian Armed Forces. Since his first mission in Cyprus to his posting in Afghanistan, with time spent along the way in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Haiti, this husband and father of two sons sacrificed a part of his family life to ensure the safety of other families in conflict zones. “The arrival of the Internet made communication much easier, but there was a time when all we got was one 10-minute call per month. I missed several birthdays, and I have celebrated Christmas in front of a webcam. It wasn’t always easy for my wife and my sons.”

Field of poppies

Going back to school

In 2010, Richard decided to enrol part-time in the Certificate in private and public ethics so he could be promoted. Although his injuries eventually got the better of his aspirations, he says that his studies at SPU were useful for him. “My studies really enriched me, and not only as a soldier. My courses allowed me to gain a better ethical vision of the chain of command and of civilians,” he explains. “Today, ethics is everywhere. We need to incorporate it in programs starting in the upper years of high school. It’s essential.”


Rebuilding yourself

Obliged to retire in June 2018 for medical reasons, Richard’s main job today is getting back on his feet. “I hurt everywhere and I have one appointment after another: physio, massage therapy, ergonomics, osteopathy, psychotherapy, and the list goes on. It’s a lot. But I had accumulated so many injuries over the years that this work was necessary.”

What does he think about the emphasis on mental health care for former members of the military? “I would simply paraphrase retired captain Jocelyn Démétré, author of Sunray 21, which describes his experience leading a platoon in Afghanistan: ‘Boys, we had some fun. We fought together. We laughed. We cried. Now it’s time to see a professional. Go get help. Don’t isolate yourself.’”


Giving back

Richard did all this rehabilitation and personal growth work with a specific goal in mind: spending quality time with his family and giving his time to seniors with Max, his beautiful Goldendoodle, who is completing his training as a service dog. “For me, volunteering is natural. In working with seniors, I can help to break down isolation – both theirs and mine. We benefit enormously in giving of ourselves.”

For me, Remembrance Day is a time to think about all those who were killed in combat. And I knew quite a few. What gives me hope is Canada’s ongoing commitment to participating in conflict resolution around the world.




After experiencing a shock or a difficult situation, go and see a counsellor. You make sure to keep your car in good working order! So why not take care of your head? Think about it before it’s too late.

Bookmark and Share

Other Links