Officer Cadet Betiana Mubili remembered: "It's hard to understand the loss of such a beautiful soul"
Sean Chase/Daily Observer A beautiful photograph of Officer Cadet Betiana Mubili is flanked by a bouquet of flowers and the 2 Field Ambulance flag. Officers and non-commissioned members of the Garrison Petawawa unit gathered at St. George's Chapel Wednesday to say farewell to the 29-year-old medic.
GARRISON PETAWAWA – Officer Cadet Betiana Mubili was fondly remembered Wednesday as a compassionate, outgoing medic who dreamed of one day serving her fellow comrades and her adopted country as nurse.
Officers and non-commissioned members of 2 Field Ambulance gathered inside St. George's Chapel to celebrate the life of the 29-year-old who died in a parachuting accident in Petawawa on Aug. 27.
“Betty,” as she was known to family and friends, moved to Canada from Zambia in 2002 before joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 2006. She was passionate about serving in the military and athletics but she cared about other people above all else, reflected her friend, Sgt. Oana Marga.
“She touched so many people from so many walks of life and she opened up her heart to all,” said an emotional Sgt. Marga. “She gave of so much and asked for so little in return. It's hard to understand the loss of such a beautiful soul.”
Refering to her as a sister, Sgt. Marga recounted that Officer Cadet Mubili had an ambitious list of 30 things she wanted to accomplish before she turned 30 years of age. That remarkable list included running a half-marathon, visiting Niagara Falls, scuba diving and sky diving. However, her greatest pursuit was enrolling in medical school to become a nurse.
“Betty was stronger than most of us and she jumped into challenges without fear,” noted Sgt. Marga. “We will always remember you, Betty, and the happiness you brought into our lives.”
Lt.-Col. Steven Pirie, commanding officer of 2 Field Ambulance, recounted how impressed he was with the journeyman medical technician who had reached the rank of master corporal before deciding to take her commission as a nursing officer. She was dedicated to providing care to the warrior both in Petawawa and on deployment in Afghanistan, he noted, with a willingness to take on additional responsibilities in ensuring advanced care for those injured and wounded. After studying hard and going through several trials and tribulations, Officer Cadet Mubili was accepted to the University of New Brunswick nursing program. He recounted one moment when he introduced the soon-to-be officer cadet to the division commander on parade telling him that she was making that big step to becoming an officer.
“You could see the excitement in her eyes and the expression on her face that she was proud to serve,” said Lt.-Col. Pirie stating Officer Cadet Mubili had a strong and winning character. “She impacted and inspired others.”
When the day came that Officer Cadet Mubili left the junior ranks to take a commission, the commanding officer noted that many in the officers' mess warmly welcomed her knowing her outstanding qualities as a non-commissioned member would be make her an excellent nursing officer. He added Officer Cadet Mubili's was “a life cut tragically short.”
“Her time with us was precious, her dedication to the medical service and her impact will be long through her interactions with her strong character and her extraordinary bright smile,” Lt.-Col. Pirie concluded.
Capt. Leslie Fillmore knew Officer Cadet Mubili during her posting to the Central Medical Equipment Depot (CMED) where she helped all their medical technicians pass their standard first aid testing. He recalled assisting her during the application process to become a nurse. Capt. Fillmore recounted that he had spoken to her two days before the tragic accident at the Pembroke and Area Airport.
“She was so happy to tell me how she would be moving back to Toronto to start her career in nursing but that she wanted to come back to CMED to say goodbye to her friends,” he said. “That's the way I will always remember Betty, her smile and her happiness.”
The service included the lighting of a candle of remembrance in front of a photograph of Officer Cadet Mubili and a solo performance of “You Raise Me Up” by Darlene TerMarsch. While grief is part of the human experience, Padre Matthew Lucas closed the ceremony by saying that this was a time to celebrate a person who donned the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces to serve others. A strong Christian, Betiana had accepted Jesus as her Lord and saviour and will now enjoy eternal life, Padre Lucas noted.
“As a believer in God, Betiana found strength and great inspiration to live life to the fullest,” he said. “She lived a life of joy with a strong desire to help others.”