TRURO, N.S. – The Royal Canadian Air Force Association 102 Colchester Wing is receiving national recognition.
The wing and two members will be presented with awards by the RCAF Association national branch in appreciation of their hard work, service and efforts within the RCAF Association.
“These are prestigious awards and it’s an honour to receive them,” said Tilmon Martin, president of 102 Colchester wing.
Among the honours, 102 Colchester wing will receive the Best Annual Report award.
“Each year we need to send in a report to national on who’s president, what we’ve done throughout the year, etcetera,” said Martin.
“It also lists out our ongoing projects we have going. For example, we sponsor the Air Cadets here and have our own building for them. This award is for that report we send in.”
The Meritorious Service Award will be presented to member Ralph Murphy. Kris Henderson, public relations manager for 102 Colchester wing, will be presented with the Wing Bulletin Award.
“I’ve been involved in the association for 21 years and have been to many national conventions where they would normally present these awards,” said Murphy.
“I’ve seen the people who have received this award before me, so it’s pretty humbling to see the company you are now in.”
The Meritorious Service Award is the third highest award given in the RCAF Association. It goes to six members each year for their involvement, activities and dedication to the association.
During Murphy’s 41-year career in the Air Force, he served as liaison officer for the RCAF Association in both Amherst and Truro. After retiring, he served as president for the association’s Atlantic group for three years, and stepped in as the National Ceremonial Director.
Murphy also chaired last year’s RCAF Association convention in Truro and assisted with the reunion of two former Air Force veterans in October. The two were members of a Second World War bomber crew, who had lost touch and were seeing each other for the first time in about 30 years.
“It’s involvement in the Air Force Association that they look at for the award, and as the Atlantic president you sort of inherit a lot of that stuff during your tender,” chuckled Murphy.
The awards will be presented by members of the Atlantic RCAF Association on Tuesday, March 20.
Like the Royal Canadian Legion, the RCAF Association provides support for Air Force veterans through advocacy and heritage preservation while also helping youth develop skills through the Air Cadets program and being involved in the community.
Where the two differ is in their size and the support they can provide.
“The legion is a huge supporter of the veterans,” said 102 Colchester Wing member Ralph Murphy.
“We are too, but not to the extent the legion is because they are way bigger than us; we support the Air Force. The Legion is more for supporting veterans from all walks of life, such as if they are having issues with their pension or have a disability they need help with.”
Members of the RCAF Association and its wings, much like the 102 Colchester Wing, don’t require a military background.
Those without can join as an associate member and still enjoy the same Wing activities regular members do, such as the 102’s Jersey Day, pool and darts tournaments, and curling competitions, among other activities.
“After three years of associate memberships and working on a committee, you can move up to a regular member,” said Murphy.
“If we tried to fill all these positions with regular ex-military, we would be closing our doors because we just don’t have enough of these gals and guys around. Between us and the legion, there aren’t enough ex-military members across Canada.
“You’ll often find, like myself who’s an ex-Air Force guy, I’m part of both, but my heart lies with the Air Force.”