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Erin O'Toole: looking after our Vets

Anyone who lives in Durham Region will have crossed paths with Erin O’Toole, at one time or another. He currently serves as our Member of Parliament, and is very involved in our community. So let us take a look at this man who is constantly under the microscope, and always in the public eye.

Erin was born in Montreal, which is a surprise to many, but his father, John O’Toole worked for General Motors and was transferred to St. Therese, where Erin was born. The family moved back to Oshawa when Erin was at an early age.

History was one of Erin’s favourite subjects, no doubt as a result of the influence from his mother, who simply loved the subject. His mom, a teacher, won the highest award for high school history in Ontario, and passed her love for the subject on to Erin.

Sadly, Erin’s mother Molly, passed away when he was nine. His dad moved the family to Port Perry, where Erin attended elementary school and later, Port Perry High School. He became an integral part of the community, enjoying sports, clubs and all that our town has to offer.

Living on the island was a bit remote for 5 kids, who had to be taken to all sorts of activities, most of which were a great distance away. After ten years, the family moved to Bowmanville and Erin joined the military, applying (and being accepted) to the Royal Military College, in Kingston. “It was an amazing opportunity to see Canada, while giving back a little to my country. It also offered me a fantastic university education,” Erin explained.

Bootcamp for Erin was in Chilliwack, British Columbia and once completed, he spent his time in Kingston at the RMC. Summer months saw him out west, training for the Air Force, and the rest of the year was pursuing a History and Political Science degree at the college.

After four years, Erin graduated with an honours degree and Queen’s commission, attained the rank of second lieutenant. Erin’s first official posting was in Trenton as a rescue coordinator, where he spent his time planning search and rescue operations for the Canadian Government. He had always wanted to be a navigator, and eventually had an opportunity to transfer to Kingston and follow that calling.

It wasn’t long before Erin received his wings and was officially an Air Navigator. He then was posted to Shearwater, near Halifax and flew Sea King helicopters, lending navel support to the North Atlantic and the Caribbean.

After nearly ten years in the military, Erin thought it was time for a change. In 2000, Erin married his sweetheart Rebecca and transferred to the reserves working as a training officer running flight simulators. He left the military with the rank of Captain, and received the Canadian Forces Decoration for faithful service to Canada, as well as the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for the rescue of an injured fisherman at sea.

He had wanted to pursue law. After graduating from Dalhousie University, he practiced corporate law, first for a Bay street firm and later for Proctor and Gamble as their in-house counsel.