A Kamsack air cadet has been presented with the highest award which can be bestowed upon a cadet in recognition of exemplary performance in physical and military training.
During the annual ceremonial review held at the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute on May 17, FCpl. Aiden Broda was presented with the Lord Strathcona Medal by Cst. Geoff Smith of the Kamsack RCMP, marking only the third time since 2003 that a Kamsack cadet was awarded the medal and the accompanying certificate of merit.
His brother, WO1 Taryn Broda, one of the squadron’s three graduating cadets, was presented with the Legion’s Cadet Medal of Excellence by Jim Woodward, president of the Kamsack Legion branch, “for outstanding cadet service, citizenship and comradeship.”
Former Kamsack RCMP officer 2Lt. Jonathan Neima of Powerview, Man. was the reviewing officer and guest speaker at the banquet held in the Legion hall following the ceremonial review.
Sgt. Connor Bodnarek was named the squadron’s most proficient senior cadet and received a trophy from Russell Brunt, which had been sponsored by Duck Mountain Ambulance.
LAC Tara Taylor was named the top first-year cadet and received a Royal Canadian Legion award from Woodward. She was named the top cadet team curler and received an award from Karen Bodnaryk, who sponsored the award. Bodnaryk also presented Taylor with the special merit award that was sponsored by Maj. Tami Marchinko (nee Bodnaryk), while Taylor and Cpl. Megan Raffard received the citizenship award sponsored by the Legion and presented by Norma Woodward.
Raffard was also named the top second-year cadet and received an award, sponsored by Leland Campbell LLP, from Milton Glaicar, the Air Cadet League area director.
FCpl. Zachery Chernoff was named the most improved senior cadet and received a trophy sponsored by Dr. Murray Davies which was presented by Brenda Raffard.
Taryn Broda received the physical training esprit de corps award, which was sponsored by the Kamsack RCMP and presented by Cst. Geoff Smith.
The Kamsack branch of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation sponsored awards for the junior and senior marksmen, which were presented by Kim Chernoff, chair of the civilian committee. LAC Tristan Chernoff received the junior marksman award, while Sgt. Cade Henry-Martino received the senior marksman award.
Seven cadets received the award, sponsored by the civilian committee, from Kim Chernoff for having had top uniform marks. They are: LAC Tara Taylor, Cpl. Megan Raffard, FCpl. Connor Bodnarek, FCpl. Zachery Chernoff, FCpl. Aidan Broda, FCpl. Samantha Chernoff and FSgt. Keanna Romaniuk.
FSgt. Keanna Romaniuk received the top drill, dress and deportment award sponsored by John Debolt of Pelly from Jon Neima.
The squadron voted to give the Capt. Merv Ozirny Shield and accompanying prize of $100 to WO2 Madelyn Wosminity. It was presented by Karen Bodnaryk.
The squadron’s three graduating cadets, WO2 Kaitlyn Friday, WO2 Madelyn Wosminity and WO1 Taryn Broda, were presented with wrist watches.
As emcee of the program, Karen Bodnaryk welcomed everyone to the awards banquet, announced “a happy anniversary to us” in recognition of it being the 60th anniversary of the Kamsack squadron, and introduced the head table guests: Milton Glaicar of the Saskatchewan Air Cadet League; Kamsack Mayor Nancy Brunt; Russell Brunt; Kim Chernoff, chair of the cadets’ civilian committee; Jon Neima; Norma Woodward representing the Kamsack Legion, and Karen Tourangeau, the commanding officer.
“You all look very sharp; I’m proud of you,” Neima said in his remarks. He encouraged the cadets to stick with the program, keep an open mind and take advantage of what the program offers.
Keep up the good work and resist temptations, Neima said, adding that the skills one obtains from the program will benefit one in life.
Neima asked the cadets to dream big, saying that if “you can dream it, you can do it.” He said to work hard because one will get back what one puts in and to stay focused because the obstacles one sees is when one’s eyes are off the goal.
“Surround yourself with good people and life will be more fruitful,” he said, adding that after having worked for 5½ years in Kamsack, it is hard for him and his family “to get you out of our heads.”
“As doors open before you, don’t be afraid to pass through,” he said, adding that it had been an honour and a pleasure to return as the reviewing officer.
Before leaving Neima made a presentation to the three graduating cadets, and said that all three had made an impact on his life.
Speaking on behalf of the Town of Kamsack, Mayor Nancy Brunt said that the squadron has represented the town well and told them that many residents have been watching the cadets on their various trips through social media.
“Carry what you learn with you,” she said. The Town is proud of you and of the work you do in the community. Thank you.”
“This is a very special moment for me,” said Norma Woodward, who had brought greetings on behalf of the Kamsack Legion, which is the cadets’ sponsoring body.
She said she has been associated with the military and the Legion all her married life and had come to Kamsack as a young wife nearly 70 years ago. She said she was one of the last people to communicate with her would-be brother-in-law who had been killed in the Second World War and said her son and his friends were associated with the cadets 50 years ago.
“I marvel how a young person joins the cadets timid and scared and in such a short time becomes full of confidence,” she said. The training and discipline are a credit to (cadet) leaders.
“Just knowing the many rewards recognized by many of our Kamsack air cadets and the opportunities presented to them through their lives makes one realize the many benefits,” she said adding that her family could never have afforded the opportunities that her son had through the program.
“He has travelled the world over and this all started with his cadet training,” she said. “Many of our cadets have seen very rewarding lives and it has come from this early training.”
Rejecting the claim that the cadet program trains a child for war, she said that cadet training gives many a leg up in leadership and realizes the ability to take direction without questioning.
“The world is changing so fast and so many kids today can do nothing beyond social media,” she said. “You have so many different potentials and the ability to make great changes as you go through life.
“We as a Legion respect the community work the air cadets do,” Woodward said. “I pray we can continue many more years of rewarding experiences.”
Congratulating the squadron on its 60th anniversary, Milton Glaicar of the Air Cadet League, spoke about the cadets’ curling program that had begun 64 years ago and encouraged the cadets to “learn, serve and advance.”
“I have enjoyed working with the Kamsack squadron and hope to be back next year,” he said.
Kim Chernoff congratulated the three graduating cadets and said that the parents are all proud of the squadron. She thanked Karen Tourangeau, the commanding officer, and Karen Bodnaryk, a training officer who is a past commanding officer, and commended them for having taken the cadets on “an awesome trip.”
“We appreciate all you do for our kids,” she said, addressing the squadron’s officers.
“This evening marks a very special night for many ways,” Tourangeau said, thanking the cadets for a remarkable parade. “I know how hard they’ve been practicing. It’s a job well done.”
She said that it’s with a sad heart that she bids farewell to the three graduates.
“These three cadets brought their own sense of uniqueness to the squadron,” she said, mentioning each of the three and outlining their growth over the years they had spent with the program.
“You three are truly awesome leaders and will be truly missed. Thank you,” she said. “As the new CO of 633 squadron, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to see if I can be a leader.
“I would like to continue the working relationship that you had with the previous CO,” she said, addressing the parents.
Tourangeau thanked Bodnaryk for all the time and much dedication she has devoted to the squadron.
“This lady has dedicated her time and effort to keep this program going,” she said, remarking on the amount of traveling to meetings, training and events that she attended and the unseen phone calls and paperwork that she did and still does.
“The amount of concern and compassion she provides the cadets, the cadet program and the community (means) she is a true unsung hero,” she said. “Thank you for becoming a CI. I would never be able to do what you've done over the years.”
Tourangeau thanked Jon Neima for being the reviewing officer and his wife Lisa for attending.
“It's truly nice to see you again, she said, adding that they’re never far from her thoughts.
“Thank you parents and Legion members; your support of the cadets means a lot.”
The program included a slide presentation concentrating on the cadet careers of each of the three graduates.