A Day the life of SDG Auxiliary Unit commander Al Jodoin began many years ago in 1982. The movie E.T was premiering and so was Al, getting his first OPP auxiliary unit uniform. Al still wears that uniform as proud today as he did back on his first day. Unfortunately for Al after forty years, it’s coming to an end.
Jodoin, who has been wheelchair-bound since suffering a heart attack in May 2020, will be packing up several uniforms from exactly four decades of volunteering, and returning them to the SDG OPP detachment in Long Sault.
The auxiliary program, which began in Ontario in 1960, is described by the OPP as volunteering part-time to make a difference in the community, and members work with sworn OPP officers to ensure safety and well-being. Firearm training is part of the program, although auxiliary members don’t carry handguns. However, they do access OPP cruisers to work at a variety of community events; duties can include patrols with regular members and assisting with community events, seat-belt clinics, RIDE initiatives, safety displays, presentations, and victim assistance.
For Jodoin, what a first day it was in 1982, alongside a now-retired officer, involved in a high-speed chase on Highway 401, in the rain in the middle of the night, the pursuit ending when the motorcyclist ditched on the off-ramp at Brookdale Avenue, ultimately being apprehended by Cornwall police.
Most of his special memories come from regular interactions; Jodoin, born and raised in Cornwall, said he loves meeting and talking to people, and working with the regular officers. He recalls many fond memories when dealing or interacting with members of the communities he served.
The volunteering is extensive. Members commit to 10 hours patrol/doing community work each month, and there are two training sessions a month. Al’s duties increased when, in 2006, he was promoted to SDG Auxiliary Unit commander.
Jodoin, who has two sons, both now adults with 2 grandchildren. Al also has been married for 13 years to his amazing partner Annie. Annie has supported Al every step of the way since they have been together. She has been his rock, especially when he fell ill.
Al found the time to volunteer despite a long career at Domtar. When he sustained a back injury in a job-site incident in 1990, his auxiliary work would become mostly on the administrative side. Career-wise, Jodoin after the injury studied business technology at St. Lawrence College, and got a job as a computer analyst technician, responsible for a huge region – Ontario and the Maritimes – for Ultramar and Calgary-based Parkland Fuels.
His heart attack nearly two years ago forced him to retire, Jodoin would enjoy staying on longer, but in reality, he can’t – he’s not physically able to complete the ongoing mandatory training.
Al looks forward to spending time with family and friends, often getting together to play games and family favorite card game 5 crowns. In his future plans the OPPA Veteran’s association is in the works as he would love to continue on with so many wonderful friendships and being part of another amazing organization.