Conrad Heegsma joined the Canadian Forces in July 1985. After completing basic training, he was posted to CFB Petawawa. In 1987, he was posted to CFB Lahr, in Germany, and was there until being posted to Gagetown, NB, with the Armoured School. While there, he held many different positions including being a driver for leadership training students, then later, as an Instructor. His next posting, in 2004, sent him to Edmonton, AB, where he was a tank loader and later became a tank commander and also instructed some trade training. His final posting was back to Gagetown, NB, in 2007, to the training center where he was an Instructor.
In 2008, he experienced some health challenges due to many years in a combat arms trade and playing military hockey. He had Degenerative Disc Disease of both lumbar and c-spine, along with arthritis, causing relentless pain to the point that he could no longer function as an instructor in the field. At that time, he became involved with distance learning as an Instructor, Programmer / Coordinator for online leadership training until he was medically released in 2014, after serving nearly 29 years.
Conrad moved to London, ON, with his wife, where they currently reside. He has been focusing on his health and education for the last several years. He completed three different college programs online, at Fanshaw College. After some coordination with his case manager and family doctor, he was able to attend the Intensive Pain Management Program at the DeGroote Pain Clinic, in Hamilton, ON. This is where he attributes his transformation. He acquired knowledge and skills, to deal with chronic pain, from amazing people at the DeGroote Pain Clinic and some fantastic health care providers in London. He can now do things that he never thought possible to achieve. He began volunteering at a local YMCA and is now a wellness coach at that very same branch.