• Colonel Commandant of Air Cadets Honoured

    NEW GLASGOW – The minister of national defence, along with over 100 cadets, officers and guests gathered at the New Glasgow Armouries to celebrate and honour the colonel commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

    It’s a prestigious title, but you may know him simply as country music singer and songwriter George Canyon.

    Canyon, a former air cadet at Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron 374 F/L Chisholm in Westville, was one of 60,000 Canadians honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal during the selection process last year. It’s only now however that MP Peter MacKay and Canyon’s busy schedule allowed them to come together for the presentation ceremony.

    Canyon hails from Pictou and joined air cadets as a young boy with the full intention of becoming an air force pilot. However, a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes prevented him from pursuing his dreams of becoming a pilot. His advocacy of the air cadets and military in general earned him a nod as Honorary Colonel of 14 Wing Greenwood and later an appointment as the first-ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets on Dec. 15, 2011.

    MacKay and Canyon took questions from the cadets including, whether they preferred a power airplane or a glider. Canyon, who did eventually get his pilot’s license enjoyed power airplane.

    “Glider is very special though, it’s hard to describe for those who have never been in one,” he said.

    When a question was asked about the controversial F-35 fighter jet deal, MacKay laughed and bowed out.

    “You’re on your own,” he said to Canyon.

    Captain Catherine Kelly, current commanding officer of Canyon’s former squadron in Westville was thrilled to have cadets present to meet the honorary colonel.

    “His story is something to which all cadets, air, sea and army, can aspire.”

    Defence Minister MacKay’s visit was an opportunity for the community to offer their congratulations on the birth of his son, Kian Alexander. Flight Sergeant Christina Cardiff, one of the senior cadets at the Westville squadron, presented a card to MacKay from the entire squadron.

    “We thought it would be a really nice thing to do,” she said. “Today was just a great day meeting George Canyon and hearing his inspirational stories.”

    Photo and story credit: The News
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