A Veteran’s Story: Adam Kinequon

“Be grateful for every sandwich.” This is a key lesson for Adam who served in the Canadian military in the late 90s to early 2000s.

Adam spent the first 19 years of his life in Star City, Saskatchewan – east of Melfort. When his 19th birthday rolled around Adam started thinking about his options for his future.

“I asked myself, ‘what am I going to do?’ I didn’t want to go back to school and I was working little jobs in lumber yards. My teen years were ending and I had nothing planned,” he says.

His cousin spent a number of years in the artillery and suggested he join the army. Within the week he made the trip to Saskatoon and enlisted – it was June 1998.

It took six months for the recruitment process, which culminated in a trip to Saint Jean (military base in Quebec) on January 25, 1999. After three months of basic training followed by three months of battle school, Adam was set to be deployed.

Deployed to Bosnia

Adam was first deployed to Bosnia in 2000 as a peace keeper. The Canadian government stepped in with NATO to support stabilization efforts in the region.

With similar a landscape to Canada, Bosnia felt a little bit like home for Adam. He noticed that everything there was made of rock and concrete – like telephone poles. However, witnessing the war torn areas of the country was a surreal experience.

“There’s what you see on TV – and then you arrive and see everything in real life. The severity of the war had never really settled in for me,” he says.

There’s one moment though that’s had a deep impact on Adam. He was out delivering aid to the locals when they stopped at an older woman’s home. She had nothing but one cow left – her house was destroyed.

“We brought her a wood stove and groceries. She was so grateful for that stuff. So she went into her stash and brought out a little can – it was Turkish coffee. She made coffee for everyone on that patrol,” he says.

“The image of a frail older woman being so grateful for the little stuff we brought – that’s where I developed my sense of ‘be grateful for every sandwich.’”

Life after service

The memories of war still linger with Adam, with those from Afghanistan being the most vivid. It was there that he was deeply affected by a friendly fire incident.

“We lost four good friends in a friendly fire incident. To this day, it still lingers with me,” he says.

Adam left the military to start a family. After Bosnia, he realized how delicate our western lifestyle is, with the loss of a few simple public works halting everything in their tracks. He brought the experiences back from Bosnia and started a farm with his wife. He didn’t want to have to rely on anyone.

For Adam and other veterans alike, finding meaningful employment afterwards can be challenging.

“A lot of employers fail to see the value in hiring veterans and the success rates they will have,” he says. “The biggest asset to any organization is its employees … soldiers are looking for alternatives, and react appropriately. That’s an important skill for employees at any organization.”

What’s evident in Adam’s story though is that while military service is difficult, you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for the relationships you share.

“The boys I served with, they’re the closest guys I’ve ever known. Until you’ve gone through an absolute hardship – you can’t explain that relationship to anyone else,” he says. “Ultimately, why I didn’t want to re-sign my contract was because I wanted to have kids and see them grow. Now that I have two little girls … that’s the greatest experience I’ve had yet.”

Adam Kinequon is now a Security Officer employed at SIGA’s Northern Lights Casino.