Article appeared in the June 16, 2011 issue of the Interlake spectator…The town of Fisher Branch could not have been more proud of its young air cadets, as many of them were promoted and took home awards during the annual review and parade at the Ukrainian National Home in Fisher Branch on Jun. 8.
No. 158 Fisher Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has grown to 25 cadets, aged 12 to 18, who hail from several communities spanning Gimli to Moosehorn. For all of the cadets, this was their first parade, and for many, their first promotion.
The official review took place in the parking lot outside the hall. The reviewing party was made up by Capt. Jocelyn Burzuik, the cadets’ the commanding officer, Sgt. Michelle Gregoire of CFB Shilo, Terry Lewis of the Air Cadet League of Manitoba, and Manitoba MLA, Tom Nevakshonoff.
Once the inspections were complete, the cadets paraded through the parking lot, then made their way into the community hall. Honoured guests followed to take their seats at the head table.
Gordon Gowie was the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced the guests and instructed cadets as to the proper protocol to follow during their official mess dinner.
“It’s a military tradition. It’s part of the parade. For the guests, it’s a show,” said Gowie, who explained the formalities that cadets must follow during the dinner, from the moment they enter the room to the last toast of the evening.
Several of the guests gave speeches.
”I am happy to see the cadet squadron expanding. It gives me a really good feeling,” said squadron chaplain, Roy Hedges, who himself was an air cadet in 1938. He expressed pride in squadron 158, and cautioned them to “never take your freedom for granted.
Nevakshonoff, whose own daughter was in cadets, praised the program in his speech.
“Our young need guidance. This program teaches them valuable skills,” he said.
Sgt. Gregiore, a former cadet in Gimli, was invited to give an inspirational speech to cadets. She has enjoyed a 20-year a career in the military, and encouraged the cadets to consider that option. She outlined the many benefits in terms of training, life experience, and income that may be gained by following that path.
“Cadets may lead to places you never even dreamed about,” she told cadets.
Capt. Burzuik handed out most of the awards after dinner, while Nevakshonoff handed out the prestigious Iron Cadet award to Sgt. Katelynn Dickey. She was the first female cadet to ever win the award. She received a combined score in Athleticism, Orienteering, Marksmanship, and Range and Survival, that was higher than all the other cadets.
Truthwaite Memorial Award was handed out by Rob Truthwaite in honour of his brother who died in service. It was awarded to LAC Shaelynn Fuz for demonstrating her commitment, self-discipline, and effort to do her best in everything. The recipient is chosen by his or her peers and squadron staff.
Other awards were given for:
Best dressed junior – LAC Arik Lindal (Fisher Branch)
Best dressed senior – Sgt Katelynn Dickey (Fisher Branch)
Best drill junior – LAC Shaelynn Fuz (Poplarfield)
Best drill senior – F/Cpl Larissa Gering (Ashern)
Survival junior – Cpl Riley Dmyterko (Fisher Branch)
Survival senior – Sgt Jordan Dmyterko (Fisher Branch)
Range and marksmanship – Cpl Madison Baril (Fisher Branch)
Most improved cadet – LAC Bo Witzke (Fisher Branch)
Academic Junior – LAC Connor Dunitz (Sandy Hook)
Academic senior – LAC Brendan Sutherland (Fisher River/Peguis)
Citizenship award – LAC Connor Dunitz (Sandy Hook)
CO’s merit award – F/Sgt Brittany Hastings (Fisher Branch)
Orienteering – LAC Arik Lindal (Fisher Branch)
Top Cadet Level 1 – LAC Arik Lindal, LAC Connor Dunitz
Top Cadet Level 2 – Cpl Shaemin Gering (Ashern/Moosehorn)
Top Cadet Level 3 – LAC Brendan Sutherland
Top Cadet Level 4 – F/Sgt Brittany Hastings
The cadets also received letters of congratulations from Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper; Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, Philip S. Lee; Selkirk-Interlake Member of Parliament, James Bezan; and Leader of the Official Opposition, Hugh McFadyen. They were very honoured to have received the letters.