On Friday, Aug. 16 myself, and about 75 others were privileged to attend the High Tea provided by the wonderful volunteers at the Lake Cowichan Senior Centre as part of the Lake Cowichan 75th anniversary celebrations.
The High Tea was itself fabulous but the presentation by Dr. William Carpentier was a once in a life time experience!!
Dr. Carpentier was the flight surgeon for the astronauts on Apollo 11, man’s first landing on the moon.
His excellent 45-minute presentation described his life as a young boy, brought up on North Shore Road in Lake Cowichan to his continuing research in space medicine today. At age 84, he is still working as a consultant to NASA in Texas where he now has a home in Belton.
Dr. Carpentier still visits Lake Cowichan annually.
His early accomplishments included a private pilot licence and full flight surgeon status by age 28 and at 33 was the flight surgeon for Apollo11.
Not bad for a Canadian kid from Lake Cowichan who got the job over another American flight surgeon because he learned to swim in our lake and the American was not comfortable jumping from a helicopter into the sea to aid in the recovery of the three astronauts Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins.
After their recovery Dr. Carpentier actually stayed and checked out the Astronauts during their 21 days in isolation on the USN Aircraft Carrier Hornet.
If you ever have a chance to hear his presentation I highly recommend it. It really emphasized how any young person, if focused, can reach the stars.
As Dr. Carpentier said “acquire the right skills and when the opportunity arises take it”. He did add “I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time”.
Dr. Carpentier, in my opinion, is probably one of the most accomplished Canadians in the past century and he’s one of ours!!
I was privileged to listen to his presentation and honoured to speak to him in person.
Thank you to the Lake Cowichan Senior Centre and all their volunteers for making this wonderful event happen.