Warrant Officers Jenny and Jamie Beck work on opposite sides of town but really they are never that far apart.
The two have been serving in Yellowknife since moving North from CFB Petawawa in Ontario last summer and have served throughout Canada at various stations since meeting at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick in 2003.
Married in 2004, the Becks – now at about the midpoint of their careers – say they are enjoying Yellowknife with their two children Thomas, 15, and Abigail, 13.
Jenny, 39, runs the supply section for the Area Support Unit North at Joint Task Force North’s Forward Operating Location site off of Deh Cho Boulevard. Jamie, 42, stationed at the Joe Tobie Building, also provides logistics and supplies – including things like food, fuel, clothing and equipment – for the 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group and more than 1,500 Rangers scattered across 65 communities in the far North.
They both said while they don’t work in the same units, it is important that they do similar types of work as support techs as they relate to another as a couple.
“Some people think it is kind of crazy if you work with someone and you go home and they’re there because you’re spending all the time together,” Jenny explained. “So we don’t really do that but it is kind of nice to have someone in the same kind of work environment as you are because it makes for a great sounding board when you go home. When you’re home, you can say, oh my gosh, I have this problem, what can I do. The two of us have the same background and experience to really help each other and muddle through.”
“I have worked with a lot of people through the years who have been dead-set against having a service spouse and there are no circumstances where they would have a service spouse,” he said. “I don’t understand or don’t know how they work through their (issues).
“I think they have to bottle up or compartmentalize what they go through day to day. Because there is no way to unload on someone who has absolutely no idea what you are saying. They don’t understand the acronyms or anything about your job. Nothing you say means anything.”
A great theme in the lives of the Becks is that time is precious and can go by quickly.
Jenny, for example, says that the two didn’t mess around when it came to getting hitched, buying a house and starting a family after they met. Most of it was by her initiation.
“We kind of did everything backwards,” she said. “In our first year of knowing each other or dating, Jamie went on a tour for six months to Alert. He had to come back early because his dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly after that.
“We decided that – you know what, life is too short. We aren’t going to wait to pay for a wedding. Our priorities are that we want a house and we want to start a family.”
The two then bought a house and moved in a few months later.
“In the meantime we got pregnant and then got engage,” Jamie said. “A couple of weeks after we moved into the house, someone decided I could go home early on a Friday afternoon. I sat there thinking about what the baby’s last name was going to be.
“Before Jamie got home, I booked the Justice of the Peace for three weeks from that date.”
They were married on Oct. 8, 2004 – a Thanksgiving weekend – and ended up spending six years in Gagetown. They then had stints in Cold Lake for five years, Trenton for three, and Petawawa for three.
Today they spend their recreational time in the summers camping and kayaking, and now in their first winter, attending NACC events, going to the movies and supporting their kids – including Abigail who is in the Bella Academy Beats.
“I expected to have a long, dark and boring winter – and maybe a bit sad – but I have barely any time to clean the house because I am always on the go with someone,” Jenny said laughing.
Asked if they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day, they quickly glanced at each other amused, but shook their heads.
“I don’t think so,” Jamie said, noting that special dates aren’t always remembered because of the pace of life. “It has been so busy over our time thus far. When our kids were babies – who are only a year and a half apart – there was more than once where they more than once forgot anniversary before it was well past.”