By Kim Hutchison
Nov. 4 proved to be a busy night at the Ponoka Air Cadet Hall.
The Ponoka Air Cadet Society nominated Cpt. Shane Kreil as Officer of the Year and Director of the Central Zone for the Alberta Provincial Committee, CD3, Stan Monkman, was in attendance to present him with a certificate of recognition from the Alberta Provincial Committee Cadet League for this nomination.
“Captain Kreil richly deserves the recognition he received tonight. He is one of the greatest people in the organization in Canada,” said Monkman before proceeding to give reason to support his statement.
Kreil was the Commanding Officer (CO) since Monkman’s involvement in 2004. At that time he was going to stay as CO for another year and then step down to welcome Lt. Gord Allsopp to the CO position, but Allsopp became ill the year he was supposed to take over and unfortunately passed away. Having lost a great person and experienced and crucial officer, Kreil stepped up in the face of personal and professional tragedy.
Kreil has been able to successfully recruit to vacant positions and did the majority of intense training himself. He also helped facilitate the parent/sponsoring committee in a manner that encourages communication making sure the cadets always remain the focus.
He has a family and lives in Rimbey but commutes back and forth to Ponoka. His physical presence combined with his enthusiastic involvement and dedication has enabled the No. 65 squadron to have regular range nights, sports and drill, a biathlon team, spring and winter camps and the first out of province tour the squadron had in years. Kreil has gone above and beyond the CO role in making the No. 65 Ponoka Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron successful hence the much-deserved nomination.
The ceremony continued and Dorothy Houghton, President of the Royal Canadian Legion, presented Cpt. Kreil with a cheque for $1,361 for the Legions continued support of the No. 65 squadron, and Percy Morrow received the Air Cadet League Long Service Medal for his 5 years of Cadet service between 1959-1964. A past or present Air Cadet who was in a Squadron for a full 4 or more years is eligible to receive this medal.
It was then time for the highly anticipated “headshave” to begin.
By taking pledge sheets from door-to-door, the Cadets raised $727 for the Terry Fox Foundation and got to watch WOII Deni Lund, F/Sgt. Leo Chow, Cpt. Shane Kreil, CI Michelle Comeau, AC Chase Meredith and AC Christien LeSann, who were seated at the front of the room, get their heads shaved. Hair has to be kept short in cadets so participating members were permitted to grow it over the last few months specifically for the lively event that raised money for a great cause.