GREENWOOD - Atlantic Canadian music personality Terry Kelly was invested as the new Honorary Colonel of 14 Wing Greenwood.
The St. John’s, NL, native and well-known singer, songwriter, performer and inspirational speaker replaces the former Honorary Colonel, Barb Stegemann, who took part in the ceremony along with Wing Commander Col. Iain Huddleston.
Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, appointed Kelly to the position for a three-year term. Honorary Colonel Stegemann had served in the position since December of 2011.
The Honorary Colonel designation carries a variety of responsibilities, including developing, promoting and sustaining strong ties between base and community.
The Honorary Colonel also assists in hosting parades and other Wing functions, fostering esprit de corps and establishing and maintaining a liaison with the Wing’s charities and associations.
Honorary Colonel Kelly is a Member of the Order of Canada. A graduate of Saint Mary’s University, he also holds honorary degrees from both Saint Mary’s (Doctor of Fine Arts) and the University of Kings College (Doctor of Civil Laws).
He is also a recipient of both the Queen’s Silver and Diamond Jubilee medals.
Blind since infancy, Kelly has released seven full-length musical recordings, which have earned him seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and one JUNO Award.
He has performed his original music in Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well as performing for Canadian and Allied troops in Afghanistan. Arguably his biggest contribution to the Canadian military is his inspirational song ‘A Pittance of Time’.
Col. Huddleston, who first met Kelly in Afghanistan, said the Wing is “absolutely thrilled that Terry has accepted the position. With his strong community background, I have no doubt he will be a wonderful addition to our military family.”
In his remarks, Kelly said he has been “blessed in my life with wonderful parents, family, teachers and supporters.
“A life of not being overprotected,” he said, “has given me the gift of belief. You have to believe in something you’re working for together with others. I’m here,” he said, “and I take (this appointment) very seriously.”
During the next three years, he said, “I’d like to do three things. I’m very interested in military family services; I have a real interest in fitness, health and nutrition; and a big one for me is working with cadets.
“I’ve seen lives transformed by time spent in cadets,” he said. “I’d like to take cadets across the country and give them the opportunity to grow.”
He pointed out, “you have to use the gifts you’re given. I’ve been given a lot of gifts, and passing them on is something I take very seriously.
“All I’ve achieved in my life has been gained with the help of others. I’ve been given an opportunity here to share some of the things I’ve been given, and to give something back. I’m happy to join the family of 14 Wing, and I’m looking forward to meeting the people on the front lines.”
Asked afterward how he felt during the ceremony, Kelly acknowledged he was “a little nervous. This is a new thing for me,” he said, but on the other hand, “stepping out of your comfort zone is always a good thing. I do it as often as I can.”
This opportunity, he said, “has been gifted to me. I didn’t ask for it, but it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’ve been involved with the military through my music, but this is something special. It’s like a ‘dream adjustment’ come true.”
View a slideshow from the investment ceremony here.