The 62 Phantom Squadron Air Cadets have been an integral part of Grimsby’s Remembrance Day ceremony for many years.
The organization takes their vigil – a rotation of cadets at the cenotaph overnight before Nov. 11 – very seriously, but their participation over those two days is just one of many activities in which the group participates.
That variety, the structure and discipline are some of the characteristics which drew Smithville’s Alex Joyner to the group.
“The discipline and self-respect instilled in me has molded me into a community minded citizen. Simple tasks such as making a bed or polishing boots has given me a sense of independent personal conduct that I will carry into future endeavours,” said Joyner, Warrant Officer 1st Class and the Cadet Squadron Commander.
“That is what I believe is the foundation of the program is; to instill a realization into young citizens that the little details in life count and something as simple as opening a door for another can impact the lives of our neighbour in a positive way.”
Joyner, who has been part of the squadron for five years, recognizes the organization has afforded him opportunities he may never had received.
“Being part of the air cadet program has provided me with the opportunity to travel both abroad and within Canada I have visited multiple cities in multiple countries, including Houston Texas, Washington DC, our nation’s capital of Ottawa. This past summer I was given the honour of visiting Europe and touring the memorial grounds of Vimy Ridge,” noted Joyner.
“Perhaps my favourite part about being part of the cadet program is the fact that I am given the chance to attend summer training on Canadian forces bases such as Trenton, Borden, and Connaught for training and life experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
While the travel is an attractive feature for cadets they put in a great deal of work on a regular basis to open those doors.
“This past summer I was a staff cadet at Canadian forces base Connaught on the Drill and Ceremonial Instructor Course. During those seven weeks I sharpened and refined my own leadership skills to bring back to 62 Grimsby Phantom Squadron as the Cadet Squadron Commander,” said Joyner, who noted there are many other activities he has taken part in over the years.
“I have been a part of many of the various teams and activities that the cadet program provides, including public speaking, sports teams, range, drill with arms and without, the pipe and drum band and first aid,” said Joyner.
“Having been given the tremendous opportunity to wear the uniform has made me a better person.”