Posted on 30 May 2012 by Keith Lacey
Some of the friendships you make as a result of joining the Canadian Air Cadets often last a lifetime and the memories never go away, said one of the first graduates of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Squadron 232, which held its 70th Annual Ceremonial Review and Parade Awards Ceremony Sunday afternoon.
Ron Worth, who acted as reviewing officer for the 2012 graduation ceremony, told the 22 air cadets, including seven from Osoyoos, about how he still has very fond memories of the days when he joined Squadron 232 as a young teenager back in 1949.
Worth attained the rank of Flight Sergeant and was the first Oliver cadet to receive a pilot’s license.
“I joined 60 years ago when I was 14 years old,” said Worth proudly. “I was standing where you are today 60 years ago and I still remember it fondly.”
Worth told the cadets about his first summer camp as an air cadet, which was held in Gimli, Manitoba and the wonderful friendships he forged at that camp.
“I was 1,400 miles from home and I was having a wonderful time,” he said.
He also recalled doing his first solo flight on a glider and successfully landing the aircraft.
“I will never forget that great feeling of freedom … there are really no words to describe it,” he said. “It was complete freedom.”
Once he acquired his pilot’s license at the age of 16, he was able to take his girlfriend at the time on a ride and he can still remember the excitement of that day, said Worth.
“I was only 16 and I could take my girlfriend for a ride … can you imagine?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s a really nice thing to me to look back on.”
Worth said he has no doubt some of the friendships these young boys and girls are making as a result of joining air cadets will last a lifetime.
“You will be staying in touch with some of these people and will look back on today 60 years from now,” he said. “My life was directed by being an air cadet … it was an opportunity to follow my dreams and make some great friends along the way.”
Worth ended his speech saying he was honoured to have been asked to be the reviewing officer for the graduation and wished all the cadets good luck in their careers and in life.
Before Worth’s speech, the air cadets marched in colours and were inspected by the reviewing party, which included Worth, squadron commanding officer Kim Schur, Air Cadet League Inspector Don Doern, Major B. Deck, Pacific Regional Cadets representative and Susan Midgley, chairperson of the local cadet sponsoring committee.
Several cadets were also involved in a mock first aid presentation, where they attended to a cadet who was injured and they were forced to put their extensive first aid training to the test.
A couple of cadets read speeches where they told the audience about how much they have learned and the leadership skills they have acquired during their years of training.
A large group of parents, siblings and friends were on hand for the ceremonial review and parade awards, held at the Squadron’s hangar in Oliver.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes congratulated the cadets on a job well done during the ceremonial review and parade awards.
While he was never a cadet, he served in the military and has nothing but fond memories, said Hovanes.
“The Town of Oliver is very very proud of this organization,” he said. “This organization has a 70-year history of producing good citizens … you young people here today are going to take your leadership skills and, most importantly, you are going to know what you can do and you will carry those skills with you for the rest of your life.
As the Squadron’s Commanding Officer over the past year, Schur said she was proud of all the hard work the cadets put in and especially in the weeks leading up to the ceremonial review.
The cadets received a nice round of applause at the end of the ceremony before everyone in attendance was invited to a nice lunch.