Air cadets pass inspection with flying colours

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Local air cadets decked out in their finest and went out on parade Sunday afternoon as they hosted their annual ceremony review to celebrate another successful year for the squadron.

"It was a great show today and you deserve the awards you received," said Sackville Mayor Bob Berry during the ceremony at the Middle Sackville Baptist Church, where the 681 Tantramar Air Cadet Squadron holds its weekly training nights throughout the year.

Berry, who served as the reviewing officer for the event, said he was involved in the cadet organization himself as a youth and has nothing but good things to say about the program. He said involvement in cadets can instill valuable life skills in young teens - such as discipline, respect, citizenship and leadership, while also helping to develop friendships.

"What you do and what you learn in cadets will be with you for a lifetime," he said.

Berry, who worked for Mount Allison University for 40 years (30 of those as ice maker at Allison Gardens), has been active in municipal politics for more than two decades. He also has an extensive record of volunteer service to the community, including: coaching minor hockey, football and lacrosse; helping establish minor baseball; helping run the junior program at the Sackville Golf & Country Club; serving as an associate member of Royal Canadian Legion; and a former longtime member of the Sackville Kinsmen.

Ray LeClair, regional representative for the Air Cadet League, also praised the cadets during Sunday's ceremony.

"As usual, the cadets have done well with their uniforms, their deportment and their performance here today," said LeClair.

He also applauded the parents and the other volunteers who put their support behind the program and encouraged them to continue their efforts because they are the "backbone of the cadet movement."

The squadron's commanding officer agreed with LeClair.

"Without your support, the squadron would not exist," said C/O Lt. Andre Chevarie of the volunteer parents and staff.

Chevarie commended his cadets on a "job well done" at the ceremony.

"You look very sharp today . . . and you make me proud to call myself the commanding officer of 681."

A number of awards and presentations were handed out during the ceremony.

The Commanding Officer's Plaque for the top overall cadet went to Kellen Anderson. This award is presented to the cadet who has shown performance above the normal requirements, in all aspects of the program. Anderson was also awarded the Lord Strathcona Trust Fund Medal, which is bestowed upon a cadet in recognition of exemplary performance in physical and military training. He also shared the Marksmanship Award with David Puddicombe.

Ashley Patterson also took home several awards, including the Charlie Estabrooks Memorial Trophy for top band member, the Branch #26 Royal Canadian Legion Award (presented to a cadet who shows dedication to the squadron), and the Legion's Medal of Excellence Award (given to cadets who are exemplary in their actions and are model cadets in all aspects of the program).

The Top First-Year Cadet award - presented to a Level 1 cadet who has developed well in training, deportment, uniform, and has good attendance - went to Trent Bowser.

David Puddicombe shared the Marksmanship Award with Anderson.

Andrew Ollerhead received the Athletic Award, which is given to a cadet who demonstrates strong athletic skills, participation and sportsmanship, within and outside of the squadron.

Evan Jennex was awarded Top Junior NCO, presented to a second, third, or fourth-year cadet who has excelled in training, deportment, uniform and has good attendance.

The Most Improved Cadet Award went to Keegan Mitton; while the Dress-Drill Deportment Award was given to Emily Patterson.

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Royal Canadian Legion, Air Cadet League Strathcona Trust Fund

Geographic location: Allison Gardens

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