Laken Pavan from Parksville, shakes hands and thanks veterans during a D-Day celebration in France at Juno Beach. (Submitted photo)

Laken Pavan from Parksville, shakes hands and thanks veterans during a D-Day celebration in France at Juno Beach. (Submitted photo)

Canadian Armed Forces gave direction to Parksville’s Kevin Pavan

‘All my friends were getting jobs, moving on. I was doing the same old thing’

Serving in the military runs in retired Master Cpl. Kevin Pavan’s family. On his mother’s side, his great grandfather served during the First World War, and his grandfather served during the Second World War.

Pavan said his grandfathers’ military career didn’t impact his decision to join the Canadian Armed Forces, but he remembers exactly when the idea first came to his mind.

“I was in Grade 7 and was watching TV when I saw the soldiers in Bosnia, the Canadian troops,” said Pavan.

That image has always stuck in his head, he said.

“They were over there, helping people, and I thought I’d like to do that one day.”

Before joining, Pavan said he was “going down the wrong path,” and attributes the military to “sorting him out.”

“All my friends were getting jobs, moving on. I was doing the same old thing.”

He credits the military with giving him “a sense of direction,” and stability that provided him medical and dental benefits, plus a paycheque every two weeks.And friends that he’ll never forget.

“It (serving for the Canadian Armed Forces) gives you a sense of accomplishment.”

READ MORE: Field of Crosses honouring soldiers to be erected in Qualicum Beach

Pavan joined in 2001 at age 22, as a combat engineer. After his pre-training, he then went to a combat engineer regiment in Edmonton. From there, he was deployed in 2003 to Bosnia for six months. Then was part of the first rotation to Afghanistan in 2006.

“That was some of the heaviest fighting,” he said. “Haven’t seen fighting like that since really Korea. It was new to all of us.”

His service did not come without a cost. Before being medically discharged, there was an attempt to retrain Pavan, where he tried to be a dog handler for improvised explosive devices. Retraining was unsuccessful, and Pavan was medically discharged in 2017 with a post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I wanted to get back over there, but my limitations kiboshed that. I got a bad back, shoulders, and knees too… Just regular wear and tear. ”

Pavan served with the Canadian Armed Forces for 17 years and 80 days.

Originally from Port Moody, Pavan is a single father and currently lives in Parksville with his 14-year-old son, Laken. Though Pavan said that even Parksville is too crowded for him, and hopes to one day move out to “somewhere like Port Alice.”

Laken, a cadet and Kwalikum Secondary School student, plans on becoming a Master Corporal and wants to join the Assault Pioneers infantry.

In June last year Pavan and Laken went on a Liberation Tour, with special VIP access, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Their whole battlefield tour lasted more than a month and ended in Germany.

“Every time we saw a vet, me and my son got to run up and shake their hands and congratulate them. It was a really moving experience.”

For his son, the trip had meant so much more than just a vacation. “For him (Laken) to see an actual World War II combat vet, since it would’ve proba

bly been one of their last trips out there, it meant a lot for me and him to thank them all.”

Laken apparently stole the spotlight from his father during the trip though, as veterans gravitated towards him.

“You could have the Prime Minister standing beside us, and they would talk to my son because he was in his cadet uniform, and they just loved him.”

As a new member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 49, Pavan’s duties are currently data entry, but beyond the hours he puts in at the legion, Pavan enjoys the outdoors and staying in shape by working out at the gym every morning.

He said he’ll be carrying the flag on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, at the Parksville Cenotaph, which as a public event during the COVID pandemic will be limited to 50 people in attendance.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

ParksvilleRemembrance DayVeterans

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP investigation continues into grisly discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs near Whiskey Creek

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
Errington man dies in ATV crash southwest of Parksville

Incident happened on Northwest Bay Logging Road on Saturday afternoon

Patricia Taylor and Debra Strut at the Salvation Army on Friday, Nov. 27, handing out winter boots and gift bags to those in need. Taylor says they'll be back until all her supplies are gone.(Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville residents distribute gifts and winter boots in Salvation Army parking lot

‘I’m hoping to open the eyes of the community to realize that everybody has value’

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read