Dawson’s previous life in the Canadian Army was fraught with danger as he was part of a team tasked with defusing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In March 2009, his armoured vehicle was destroyed by an IED triggered by Taliban insurgents. The young corporal and another soldier were the only ones to survive the blast, albeit with severe wounds.
Dawson received a commendation from Queen Elizabeth II for his actions that day, which involved pulling the other survivor out of the destroyed vehicle. “I didn’t do anything special. He would’ve done the same for me,” Dawson recalled.
The healing process was a long road, but Dawson eventually recovered to continue active duty. It was his family, however, specifically his young daughter, that made him rethink his future. Dawson, who grew up in nearby Whitby, wanted to see more of his loved ones. With this in mind, he made the jump to Pickering Nuclear in 2012 and never looked back.
“I left the Army on a Friday and started my job at OPG on a Tuesday,” he said. “I took off my green stuff and put on my grey Nuclear Security Officer fatigues.”
If there’s a similarity between his current job and his previous one, it’s the training and comradery. Armed Nuclear Security Officers train regularly to keep their skills sharp on the range and in mock facilities. Most of Dawson’s current crew served in the Army and Afghanistan together.
Recently, the former soldier completed an 18-month rotation as a Security Programs Senior Consultant for SES. He’s now looking at possibly learning a skilled trade in the future.
“I’ve learned a lot in the last 12 years and I’d like to continue my education,” Dawson said.
Employee spotlight: Darryl Dawson
Position: Nuclear Security Officer
Work location: Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Years of service: 5
Recently visited: The Yukon
Favourite movie: Old School
Favourite weekend activity: Camping anywhere in the province