Air cadets have something to smile about
TRURO - Aaron Taylor can't stop smiling.
That's because the air cadet, a sergeant in 77 Arrowhead Truro, is excited the squadron finally has a facility to call home. The local 102 Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada purchased 68 Glenwood Dr. in Truro for the air cadets, at a price of $250,000. The building used to house a party planning business.
"My lips are drying up from smiling so much," said the 15-year-old from Debert who has been with the air cadets since 2006. "We are like a family and a (building of their own) will bring us closer together, make us more efficient and help us to better prepare for competitions and get more awards," Taylor said of some of the benefits of having their own space.
The group has been meeting in Debert weekly for about five years. For the past year and a half, they have been using the Debert legion and a secondary building a few kilometers away as headquarters for equipment and uniforms. Before that they used the Debert school and area museum.
Using two facilities - the legion and headquarters - posed problems, as did travelling to Debert for gatherings.
"Logistically it was a nightmare," said Captain Patrick Ryan, commanding officer of the air cadets. "Now everything is under one roof -equipment, training, uniforms ..."
Sgt. Elizabeth Wile, 15, of East Noel, said having one building makes a huge difference.
"We would decide who needed their uniforms first and take turns travelling from (one building) to another to get them," said Wile, who has been with the group for a year.
"Since 1941 they have never had their own home - until now," said Terry Flewelling, first vice-president of the air force association in Truro.
Flewelling said some parents were discouraged travelling from Truro to Debert and weather conditions were of concern as well at times, especially going over the Cobequid Pass.
"It was too far to travel for many and we were losing numbers (cadets)," said Flewelling.
For Taylor, the new facility means he will be travelling from Debert to Truro. Having their own facility makes it worthwhile, he said.
"I don't mind ... I'm happy to have this place," he said earlier this week while touring the 4,000-square-foot building.
Gathering locally will hopefully increase the group's awareness.
"We'll have fundraisers too and people (hopefully) will realize how active we are," because they will be more visible, Taylor said.
"I think people take for granted how active we are and it will be nice to be seen," added Wile.