Name: Jennifer Ward
Family: Married to Kevin, with three daughters
Profession: Homemaker and Equine First Aide Instructor
Years in Grenfell: 13
What does home mean to you?
That's really funny, because I just got the best gift. Lani (Jooste) just gave me a sign for my birthday and it says "Home is not a place. It's a feeling" I love it and it's very much indicative of our life in the past few years. We sold our house, then moved into our camper. We were in the camper in the park, then we moved down to the lake in our camper, then back to the park. Then we moved into a rental. Eventually we'll be somewhere else. So we've had to make home be a feeling, not a place. Home is wherever me and Kevin and the girls are.
How would your friends describe you?
Probably bubbly and I talk a lot. How would my friends describe me?? I think maybe they might think that I'm a little over the top when we get together. Certain people can really get me going, and then I'm like a train - it takes a while to slow me down. I think maybe they might say I'm a little bit emotional. If you're crying, I'm crying. If you're laughing, I'm laughing.
What is one regret you have?
Oh man...hopefully I don't get emotional..One regret I have - my sister Rhonda passed away from cancer when she was 27 and I was 19. I'll never forget, when she was going through chemo, she lost her voice. It was really, really raspy. I was on my way somewhere, and was heading out the door, and my mom called me back to tell me Rhonda was on the phone. I came back and grabbed the phone and she said "Hi Jenn", in her little raspy voice and I just said "Hi Rhonda. I'm sorry I can't talk right now. I've got to go. But I do love you and I'll call you another time". I was only 19, and even though I knew that she had cancer and was having a rough go of things, I didn't really actually think of the consequences of what that could really mean. And two weeks later she passed away, and I never talked to her again. So that's probably one of my biggest regrets, that I didn't take the time to talk to her that day. I have four sisters and one brother, and she was the sister closest to me in age. Rhonda and I were close. People used to mistake us for twins. We had similar voices. I think we would have been really good friends if she were still here. She was married and had been in the army, a leftinent, and her husband was a captain. She was in Petawawa when she was going through cancer. My parents flew out there to be with her, but from the time she was diagnosed, until the time she died, was only 11 weeks. Really, really fast. We just weren't expecting it. The cancer she had was categorized as child leukemia. She had served in Bosnia and she lived beside a reactor plant. So they were wondering if there was a connection there. But they don't really know.
What was your first job as a kid?
Well, actual first job, where I got paid was babysitting. I hated it. Hated it, hated it. I did it for the money. I hated it.. So I'll move onto the next job, because I loved it, and that might say sad something about me, but it was working in a chicken barn. A friend of mine, his dad owned a meat bird chicken farm. They had 60, 000 birds in three barns. Our job was to go in and take the chickens out of these three tiered tall cages and put them into batteries to put them onto the truck. I think I liked it so much because my boss liked me. He said that me and my other two friends that worked there, we would work harder than his full time employees. He would give us good incentives to come back. I loved that job. It was so weird though. You'd open the door and the ammonia smell from the chickens would just hit you in the face. It was so hot and they had to keep the lights low, otherwise the chickens would go crazy. But I liked that more than babysitting. I sooo preferred that chicken job to babysitting.
What is something interesting about you that others might not know?
This is a physical one. I was actually born with club feet. Both my feet, and it was quite severe. To the point where the outside of my big toe curled and was touching the inside of my calf. My whole foot was turned that much. That's how bent it was. So if I had been walking, I would have been walking on the side of my calf muscle. On both feet. They expected a lot of surgeries, a lot of issues with me walking. They gave my mom kind of a not really good outlook, but with braces, and casts and lots of stretching, people have to know now, to know that I had anything wrong. And lots of prayer on my mom's part as well. She is the reason that my feet are even semi functional. She put in all the work to make sure that they got fixed up just right. So I never did need surgery, but I have tiny feet because of it. I'm 5'11", but I can fit in to a size 6 in some shoes.
If you could relive a time in your life, when would that be?
Oh man....every stage of my life has taught me something, whether I screwed up royaly and learned from it or whether it was amazing and I can appreciate it. But I don't actually think I would like to relive any part of my life. You know, some people see a baby, and they want to hold the baby, and they're just loving holding that baby. I see a baby, I like holding them and smelling them, but then giving them back. Even now, this stage with the girls right now, I'm liking this stage, and I'm looking forward to them being teenagers too. I was actually helping a friend with a rental, and I was looking at this little apartment and imagining myself looking for apartments with Raelene. Maybe the only time that I would relive would be that period of time right after I got married until having my first baby. I had no idea the kind of free time I had in that moment. We were living on the farm, and I had my horses at my disposal, and I got addicted to watching soap operas. What a waste of time! So maybe if I was going to relive something, it would be that time. I'd spend more time with my horses, or take up a hobby. Now I'm making crafts, and teaching first aide, and doing all these amazing things, while trying to home school three kids, and I think "Why didn't I do some of these things in that time I had before kids, when I had nothing to do?"
What is on your bucket list?
To ride a train. I've always wanted to ride a train. We saw the holiday train come through and I got more excited than the kids. I saw people in the passenger cars, and as soon as I saw that there were people riding them, I was looking up how much it costs to ride the holiday train. I want to go from one end of Canada to the other, because you get to see things on the train that you don't get to see when you drive. If you're driving, you don't see it as much because you're trying to pay attention, and when you're a passenger, especially with three kids, you're not paying attention to what you're driving by, because you're reaching back and refereeing, and reading and navigating - although Kevin may disagree that I'm a good navigator.
What's the coolest thing you're doing in life right now, either professionally or personally?
Well, in June I got certified by EquiHealth Canada to teach equine first aide. So that's doing first aide on horses. It's literally how to react in an emergency situation with a horse. I could do a temporary cast, or I can teach you how to wrap all sorts of wounds. And I could, not neccesarily diagnose, but give a pretty good indication of what the horse might be going through internally, so that when you go to the vet, you can tell them what they need to check on. So that is super cool. I'd been thinking about doing it for over a year, and in March Kevin said "If you want to do it, just do it". So I got in touch with EquiHealth Canada and they set me up with my mentor, Mandy Abraham. She walked me through the course, and I did some hands on things, and wrote a test. She taught me everything I needed to know, and administered all my training, and supervised my test. Now I can go and teach courses, so the last one I taught was out in Medicine Hat. I taught a group of adults and a group of kids. It's been so much fun. I get to work with horses, and I get to work with people, and I get to talk. I get to show them things that are really important. Knowing how to stop an arterial bleed on your horse. How to figure out what to do with an eye injury. I love doing it, because I get to actually help people and teach them something that they need to know. Like taking the horses vitals, or how to talk to their vets.
What is your biggest fear?
I've encountered my biggest fear a few times already, which is someone I love dying. And it is something that I still fear. Even moreso now. I always thought that those kind of things can't happen to me. But then to lose my sister, and then lose my dad, and I was young for both -so to think that that could happen again is my biggest fear. But honestly, my way of getting around that is my faith in God. He says to cast our cares on him, and that's pretty much the only way I get around it. Otherwise I'd be the person holed up in my house with my blanket, fearing everything.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a marine biologist and I wanted to train dophins. That was huge, probably up until grade 8. But then the reason it changed is because I realized it wasn't all just training dolphins, and petting seals, and holding starfish. It was scraping algae off the bottom of boats, or sitting in a lab, or cleaning tanks and cages. I realized it wasn't going to be my thing. Then I was going to be a heavy duty mechanic, and then I was going to be a horse trainer, and then I was going to be a lawyer. Then I considered going in for RCMP. I wanted to be a lot of things.