Soldier in the spotlight

Lt. Anne-Claude Gouy
First published in
SFOR Informer#157, February 6, 2003

When you read this article, she will already be in Belgium taking a well deserved holiday. In Belgium, or somewhere else? Well, that's a good question. The hobby of Belgian Sgt. Maddie Bijnens is to travel all over the world with her husband, a police commissioner. In 29 years, they have visited Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, United States, India, North Africa, many countries in Europe, and they still going on travelling.
That's one of the reasons Maddie is able to speak five languages. But she has other particularities. She was the only soldier from Belgian Army at Butmir, but also within the whole SFOR, during three months, "and it was great because everybody saw me as a poor little orphan, so I was invited everywhere!" she said.
Maddie worked in a military prosecutor's department during 15 years as clerk of the court. Then five years in Allied Forces Northern Europe (AFNORTH) in a transport branch. Three years in a logistical unit in Belgium as the commander's secretary, and finally again in AFNORTH at the switchboard. These various experiences made her able to be employed in three different jobs at the SFOR Headquarters: at the Information Campaign Branch (then ICB, now IOB), at CJ1 (personnel) and CJ8 (finance). Here is another reason for her celebrity. During her one-week hand-over, her husband asked her how it was going. She answered: "When I finished saying hello to everybody who wanted to greet me, it was the end of the day!"
When they retire, her main project is to live in Tuscany, Italy, because of the way of life: chi va piano, va sano; chi va sano, va lontano (go slowly and you will go safely; go safely and you will go far).
"I will keep a lot of good memories and a lot of anecdotes about the female building (I can't say more because of morals). But the most important I will miss is the 'German Corner'," she concluded
Maddie will leave to everyone the gift of a perpetually enjoyed person.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Belgium

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