By Kim Hutchison
Imagine standing in a room at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and giving a speech in front of 600 delegates? Hobbema’s 14 year-old Dean Bruno-Kelln can because he recently did just that.
Bruno-Kelln was selected out of 1,031 Cadets in the Hobbema Community Cadet Corps Program (HCCP) to speak on behalf of his community and program at the RCMP foundation’s prestigious 4th Annual Gala Dinner on Nov. 15. The event is held each year to support programs such as this one to help build a better future for Canada’s youth at risk.
Accompanied by Hobbema RCMP detachment Sgt. Mark A. Linnell and Cst. Richard D. Huculiak, both responsible for the founding, and ministration and implementation of the high successful HCCP, Bruno-Kelln’s experience is one he won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
After a day spent settling in the hotel and touring some of Toronto including the Hockey Hall of Fame, it was soon time for the anticipated event to begin.
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was comedian and creator of the show Corner Gas, Brent Butt. He gave the opening remarks, accompanied by a few jokes of course, then introduced Foundation Chairman Anthony H. Keenan, RCMP Commissioner William J. S. Elliott and representing key sponsors for the evening David Cheesewright, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada; Frank Gagliano, Vice Chairman, St. Joseph Communications; and Michael Hortie, President, Motorola.
When it was time for Bruno-Kelln to make his way to the podium, he was given a standing ovation that lasted for roughly two minutes. The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network crew who had spoken with him earlier in the evening was at the gala recording as well.
Bruno-Kelln spoke about the HCCP and the work they have done and will continue to do to tear teens away from gangs, drugs and alcohol. The programs success has been recognized and praised around the world and RCMP Foundation President and CEO Fred Semerjian declared he was proud to have the opportunity to bring representatives of the HCCP to Toronto to showcase the successful empowerment of Cadets’ strengths and desire to develop their abilities and achieve their goals.
“I feel a great deal of pride and joy for doing what I did,” said Bruno-Kelln. “It was a great experience and a lot of fun.”
At the conclusion of his speech, Sgt, Linnell and Const. Huculiak promoted Bruno-Kelln from Warrant Officer to 2nd Lieutenant – currently the highest rank.
“This promotion means I now have more responsibilities. It really just means so much to me,” said Bruno-Kelln.
The remainder of the evening included a gourmet dinner, a performance by the York Regional Police Male Chorus, a live auction that included paintings, diamonds and motorcycles and a silent auction. During the silent auction, RCMP memorabilia was available for purchase. Of the 245 plush horses for sale, $5,000 was raised in total with all money going to the HCCP.
During the evening Bruno-Kelln was also given a coin by the RCMP Commissioner – an absolute honour seeing as there are only a select few people in Canada who have ever received one. The next time the Commissioner sees Bruno-Kelln, he must buy the Commissioner a meal if he can’t show him in the coin when asked.
“It was an amazing few days and we are very proud of Dean and that he has and will continue to accomplish,” said Const. Huculiak who also extended a special thanks to program coordinator Lesley Lenton and communications coordinator Ann McRoberts for helping make everything possible.
Bruno-Kelln’s future plans include graduating from school, attending university and eventually running for the chief of his reserve so he can give back to and better Hobbema.
Next for the HCCP is their 3rd Anniversary on Nov. 29 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Ermineksin School Gymnasium. There will be award presentations for Community Cadet Corps, a Hobbema Community Cadet Demonstration, inspection by Superintendent Davidson and snacks and beverages. Everyone is welcome to attend.