Connell, Bob

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                                       BOB CONNELL
                             Miramichier Gains International Recognition
                                      by Carole Morris

Whether it's tinkering with clocks, teaching people how to fly, or revamping the air services department for the RCMP, everything Bob Connell touches seems to turn to gold. His life is a success story that proves no matter how small of a town you're from, you can succeed. Robert (Bob) Connell grew up in Little Bartibogue with his older sister and two brothers. He was a small town boy with big dreams and even bigger ambitions and now, he's a superintendent within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the officer in charge of the RCMP Air Services, which has a fleet of 34 air-crafts and more than 140 employees situated at 18 bases throughout Canada.

According to Bob, who lives in Ottawa, Ontario, anyone can succeed if motivated. “At the end of the day, we all have a brain and we all can do almost anything with it,” Bob stated. “Anything is achievable, provided you are motivated,” Bob added with a smile. And motivation is something Bob's family said he's full of. Bob gives 110 per cent to whatever he decides to tackle whether it was learning to fly (he not only got his personal license but his commercial pilot license as well as his instructor's rating), taking up a hobby (he learned everything he could about clocks) or doing the complete redesign of the RCMP's aviation services.

“Whenever I got into anything, I sort of went over-board,” Bob said laughing. “If 1 was going to do it, 1 was going to do it big.” His older sister France agrees, although she said it's hard to find out what Bob has accomplished, because he is humble. “He never talks about his own accomplishments. He just quietly forges on,” Frances said. “I must say, he accomplishes a lot of things in his profession, but he does it very quietly. You never really hear about anything. He doesn't boast about anything. We just pick up things here and there about what he's done,” she said. “He's always been anxious to improve his life with education. He's always been a good reader. He has a great interest in world events and national affairs," she add.

Bob recently received an Excellence in Police Aviation Award at the International Association of Chief of Police Convention in Lo Angeles, California. The award recognizes his efforts to enhance the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of police aviation. He is also the recipient of the RCMP Long Service Medal and the Queen's Jubilee Medal.

Bob started his career with the RCMP fresh out of high school. He's been with the force for close to 40 years. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Business Aviation Association.

These are all accomplishments that his parents, Adelard and Clarissa Connell, are mighty proud of. “It's really something, a real achievement,” Clarissa said of Bob's career in the RCMP. “He went for it, step by step. We knew he could do it if he wanted to.”

Bob said there are no limits to what he can do, or what anyone else from the Miramichi or surrounding areas can do. “When I came out of high school, I couldn't get into a university with the marks I had, but I ended up getting a business degree and a law degree,” Bob pointed out. After serving with the RCMP for a few years, he went on to graduate from St. Francis Xavier University with a bachelor of business administration and the University of Ottawa with a bachelor of law. “I've been fortunate in that I have been able to combine my outside interests with my work,” Bob said

“I don't regret anything and I don't say I wish I had of done something. If I felt like I wanted to do it, I did it,” Bob says matter-of-factly. And he says more youth need to just go for their dreams, no matter how long it may take to achieve them.

“I'm always very impressed with young people that I've met who have a goal in life and are working towards that goal ... or a certain life they want to achieve. That makes me feel very good to see them try,” Bob said. Although Bob plans on retiring this coming year from the RCMP, he stressed he's not retiring from life. He said he hopes to start another career, but he's not sure as to what that new career will be. He added he's not the type to just stop working, to stop learning and trying out new hobbies. That drive and ambition is, after all, what got Bob to where he is today. “It's been an interesting life, but I'm still not finished,” Bob said smiling.

Bob and his wife Carol are the proud parents of three successful daughters and seven grandchildren.

Bob also makes sure he finds the time to visit his parents, who now live in Newcastle, and stay in touch with his siblings, a sister and two brothers.

Source: Miramichi Leader – October 11, 2005

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