Area cadets in search of funds and officers

Cadets holding "tag day" fundraiser Saturday 10am - 2pm at various sites around Trail.

Greater Trail’s young men and women in blue will be out in their military attire for the first time since last fall.

The Trail air cadets have had their trademark uniforms tucked away following the death of two Canadian soldiers in October.

The military issued a blanket order preventing uniformed appearances in public. Royal Canadian Air Cadets were included as the organization is sponsored by the Department of National Defence.

While cadets, junior rangers (JCR) and military personnel could wear their uniforms to and from home for related activities and supervised events, they were not authorized to stop in uniform to partake in un-sanctioned activities or be outfitted while fundraising.

Since the rule was lifted in January, the local 531 squadron is returning to a normal routine, beginning with its first “tag day” fundraiser Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at various sites around town.

For a little pocket change or more, donors will receive a tag, in this case a bookmark with cadet logo, and information about the organization.

With the official go-ahead to become visible in blue, Major Kevin DeBiasio, the area Cadet Instructor Cadre for the Kootenay Wing, is asking civilians to become volunteer instructors, and to consider moving up the ranks to civilian then commanding officer.

“Officers are needed throughout the West Kootenay,” he said.

“We need people willing to work with cadets and willing to go through the training program. Usually it’s once a week for normal parades and on average, one weekend activity each month.”

The first step is to become a volunteer.

“Come and see what it’s all about,” explained DeBiasio. “For example, if someone is qualified to teach first aid, they can start out doing that. That step is quick but only qualifies the person for limited activities. Next is civilian instruction which is a bit more rigorous and to join, the person has to be approved by the military and their respective leagues.”

Becoming a commanding officer, however requires more of a time commitment with distant education and travelling to sites on the coast.

“Some of our best people that we work with are former cadets,” noted DeBiasio. “And those with military experience, or someone involved in aviation,  because the kids like having real world knowledge come to them. But it can be anyone and we can always use more, including kids.”

Currently there are 120 air cadets involved in the West Kootenay’s units from Trail, Castlegar, Nelson, and Grand Forks.

For more information on becoming part of the air cadets, visit bc.aircadetleagueofcanada.ca or cadets.ca.

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