Local air cadets lauded

Nicholas Donaldson

The officers and cadets of the 908 Rainy Lake Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron held their 14th-annual Ceremonial Review last Wednesday evening in the Memorial Sports Centre auditorium.
The cadets were inspected by the reviewing officer, local Justice of the Peace Pat Clysdale-Cornell, and received awards for their past year of achievements.
During a speech afterwards, Clysdale-Cornell admitted she did not know about the program until a few years ago and chose to do some research on it before attending the ceremony.
She recounted the history of the program–from its start in the 1800s training boys with military skills and drills to 1917, when the navy joined, and 1941 when the air cadets began.
“In the 1960s, there was a refocus from the military skills to those things that you are learning today, such as developing community leaders and good citizens,” Clysdale-Cornell noted.
“When I hear about all of the good programs you have been involved in, I think that it is doing a wonderful job.
“I can see tonight, the way that the evening has progressed, the awards that were given out, that you certainly are developing all the characteristics of good citizens,” she added.
Clysdale-Cornell also inspired the youth by mentioning famous Canadians who spent time in the air cadets.
These included country music singer George Canyon, former prime minister Joe Clark, children’s entertainer Fred Penner, and astronaut Chris Hadfield.
“As you develop your community, leadership, and citizenship skills, and become active participants in your community, think of all those who have gone before you,” Clysdale-Cornell said.
“Congratulations on a job well-done,” she added. “I am very pleased to be part of this tonight.”
Rick Mortensen, the regional chair for Northwestern Ontario, also took the opportunity to praise the impressive involvement of the local squadron.
“I really enjoy coming here to Fort Frances for a lot of reasons, [and] one of the main ones is this squadron here,” he remarked.
Mortensen said he follows the 908 Air Cadets’ Facebook page and notices the many activities the squadron participates in, saying by his count, 14 out of the 20 cadets received awards for extra programs.
“That is outstanding, it is really exemplary,” he stressed.
“This is probably the most active squad in Northwestern Ontario from that point of view.”
Mortensen attributed this to many people, including parents, staff, sponsors, and especially the cadets.
“Congratulations to you on choosing to be cadets and choosing to stay with it,” he said.
“I guarantee, those of you who stay will never regret it, and it’s an opportunity that you will never have again in your lives,” he noted.
Awards given out at last Wednesday’s ceremony included:
•Top New Recruit-LAC M. VanDrunen;
•Top Level 2-Cpl. J. Furlong;
•Top Level 3-Cpl. A. Coats;
•Top Level 4-Sgt. C. Sinclair;
•Top Overall Cadet-WO2 A. Roth;
•Aviation Excellence-F/Sgt. H. Ottoson;
•Most Active Participation-Cpl. C. McFayden and Sgt. C. Sinclair;
•Warrant Officer’s Shield Award-Cpl. J. Furlong;
•Community Service Award-Sgt. C. Sinclair;
•Top Marksman Award-F/Sgt. H. Ottoson; and
•The Gordon and Margaret Woollard Core Value Award-F/Sgt. A. DeGagne
Wooden propellers adorned with plaques also were presented at the ceremony to Clysdale-Cornell and Andrew Roth.
These propellers are a spiritual successor to the paddles given in the formerly active sea cadets’ program, and go each year to the reviewing officer as well as any cadets aging out the program.
“The 2016/2017 training year has been a very exciting year for [the] 908,” Capt. Dawn Gray told the parents and community members on hand.
“The biathlon team did a great job, Warrant Officer Second Class Roth was the top male, [and] two cadets attended the effective-speaking competition, with flight sergeant DeGagne placing third,” she noted.
“The marksmanship team did a fabulous job at the zone competition in Dryden,” Capt. Gray added.
“They took home top team, top junior, top senior, and third place senior.
“The drill team attended the competition in Thunder Bay and they did a wonderful job,” Gray said.
At that latter competition, the team received an award for best dressed drill team, second place for drill team commander without arms, and third place for drill team commander with arms.
They also placed third for drill team with arms and without arms.
Capt. Gray congratulated all the cadets on their hard work, and thanked the parents, families, sponsors, and fellow staff members for their involvement, as well.
“Without the dedication and support and the assistance you provide, we would not be able to succeed, so huge a thank you to you,” she said.
Promotions also were handed out at the ceremony, including:
•Cdt to LAC-G. Yarmovich and N. Yarmovich;
•Cdt to LAC to Cpl.-Marschalk;
•LAC to Cpl.-Hawrylak and VanDrunen;
•Cpl. to F/Cpl.-Beninger, Clinker, Gray, McFayden, and Ogden;
•Sgt. to F/Sgt.-Danielson and Sinclair; and
•WO2 to WO1-Roth