If there were a single word that could encompass Joel’s beliefs, philosophies, and dreams, it would be “character.” He was a man with character; he understood its meaning and appreciated its importance. Joel knew that having a perfect life didn’t mean he had to be perfect. He made a conscience choice to be happy no matter what the circumstances.

Joel always knew he wouldn’t be like everyone else, he knew any life that fulfilled him would be an adventure. He valued family, friends, and hard work. He would work from sun up to sun set with a smile on his face and song on his lips when he was doing something he loved. He had a way of lifting the spirits of all who encountered him and he gave the best hugs ever!

Joel loved many things: video games, music, movies, animals and food. It was a common joke that he joined the army for the bacon and eggs in the morning. His spirit was one of lightness and joy and that persona attracted anyone who found themselves around him. His sense of humour was infectious and he would do anything to make people laugh and be happy, even if that meant he would make himself the brunt of the joke.

Joel was a voracious reader, engrossing himself in the genre of fantasy, daunting biographies, and history books but he always had time for the people who were important to him. His friends described him as the glue that held them all together.

He joined the army in 2004 because he felt called to the work, to be part of the team and to standing up for those around him. He loved being part of the 3VP family because it gave him a place to belong and push himself at the same time. Joel was a committed soldier, who also knew how to kick back after work and enjoy himself – he was a protector, a jokester, and above all, Joel was an honourable man with loads of character.

By Sherry Clark and Anna Thiede

Portrait by Susan Abma