Today, Brian Phoenix is known as the Immediate Past Dominion President of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS). A Torontonian whose parents were each veterans of the Second World War and members of ANAVETS, Brian is no stranger to the association and in his own words, he “grew up in the organization”. Since the young age of eight, Brian has taken great pleasure in the ANAVETS camaraderie, participating in various social events and special occasions. As a child, he looked forward to the picnics, barbeques and group activities which took place on a regular basis.
In 1976, Brian’s father gave him his first ANAVETS membership as a birthday present. Prior to becoming a member, Brian was in the Sea Cadets for six years. It was here that Brian learned how to play the bugle in the Vanguard Sea Cadet Band. It wasn’t long before Cadet Band became quite good and they were soon performing at various veteran occasions throughout Toronto, the Province of Ontario, New York State and Great Britain in the late 1970s.
In 1978, Brian attended the Canadian Coast Guard College and three years later, graduated as a Marine Engineer. His newly acquired diploma presented him with enormous opportunities at sea and he quickly set sail on various vessels throughout the Central and Arctic region of the Canadian Coast Guard. Brian left the sea after 17 years and obtaining the position of Senior Engineering Officer onboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, Griffon.
Eager to be on dry land again, in 1997 Brian accepted a shore position working out of Burlington, Ontario as a Technical Inspector for the Canadian Coast Guard. Here, Brian learned how to deal with government bureaucracies and became well versed in the day-to-day challenges involved with running a government repair facility for small craft. In 2001, Brian was awarded the Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for his meritorious service to public safety in Canada with the Canadian Coast Guard. In 2013 Brian retired from the Canadian Coast Guard after 34 1/2 years.
With a continuous passion to help veterans in any way he could, in 1998 Brian became a member of the executive for the Owl’s Unit 306. After just two years, he was elected President of the Owl’s Unit 306 and he maintained this title until 2004. Brian continued to work for his unit as the Immediate Past President, until a new President for the Unit was elected in 2010. In 2005, Brian became one of the Dominion Vice Presidents of ANAVETS and is thrilled to have retained this position up until today. Over the past few years Brian has chaired the Honour and Awards Committee, Constitution Committee, Publicity & Public Relations Committee, and is currently Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Invested in the ANAVETS association since a young boy, Brian has only become a bigger voice over the years. He looks forward to future growth and development within an organization he holds in such high esteem. In recognition of his dedication, he was awarded a Life Membership in the association in 2009.