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  • Writer's picture2818 Army Cadet Corps

Here we grow again...

Updated: Jan 28, 2018

The First half of the 2017-2018 training year has been an incredible success!

Our first part of the training year has been a tremendous success. 2818 Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) was privileged to take part in a dedication ceremony, where the city of Belleville honoured the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment through the dedication of a parkette to show its appreciation and support to the members of the Regiment, past, present and future. Our cadets served as Flag party, and were chosen to reveal the beautiful monument. This was such a great honour. A moment that our cadets will think of each time they pass by the parkette.

Our strong ties with our community were demonstrated once again during our Black Friday Fundraising/Tagging. Belleville residents and once again showed our cadet corps that our city, and the residents of the surrounding communities support our cadet program. We managed to surpass last years fall fundraising event, and look forward to using these funds to offer exciting opportunities to the youth of our community. Thank you to the residents of City of Belleville and the surrounding communities for generously donating to our cadets!

During our first recruit intake, we welcomed 14 new cadets to the 2818 RCACC family. We are so happy to have these wonderful new cadets. At the conclusion of their six week recruit training, we held a graduation ceremony. We had the honour of inviting MCpl (retired) Denise Hepburn as our special guest. MCpl Hepburn served 13 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Medic. She served our country with honour, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 for seven months. As a medic, she performed different roles, mostly taking care of the Canadian contingent for looking after trauma and casualties and while deployed, she often had to care for casualties from other countries, and participated in convoys.

In 2010, during a training excercise, MCpl Hepburn as shared with us her story of surviving a horrible accident, jumping out of a griffon helicopter, fracturing her C2. She noted to the attentive cadets that only 5% of those who suffer this type of injury survive, and counts herself as one of the lucky ones, sadly, this injury ended her career, with a Medical Release from the military. Following her release and as part of her recovery, MCpl Hepburn participated in the "Soldier On" program.

"Soldier On" is a Canadian armed Forces program committed to supporting veterans and serving members to adapt and overcome permanent physical or mental health injuries through physical activity and sport. It is a program that has been recognized for improving the quality of life of the ill and infured by offereing a variety of programs and activities. MCpl Hepburn participated in Equine therapy, and, although she thought the "Soldier On" program "wasn't for me", she was able to connect with others who identify, and can normalize what a soldier goes through once released. The "soldier On Program" lead her to her place for Team Canada, for the 2018 INVICTUS games. Denise represented Canada in Sitting Volleyball, Rowing and Swimming, and despite her injuries, she walked away with four Bronze medals.

MCpl Hepburn shared with our cadets her story, and emphasized that although no-one can tell by looking at her, (even though one injury very nearly paralyzed her), she also suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from both her tour in Afghanistan, and her career ending injury. She emphasized that not all injuries are visible. She battles anxiety, depression and at times, thought of taking her own life. She also shared with the cadets her story of over coming adversity... and the importance of reaching out for help. She encouraged our cadets to look past the stigma of suffering silently, (sucking it up),and reached out... asked for help.... she added "there is nothing to be embarrassed are not your injury or illness nor are you are defined by them".

MCpl Hepburn inspected the cadet corps, and officiated the "Oath" to our graduating recruits and presented each of the new member with their Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment Cap badge, officially welcoming them into the corps. She also shared with our new cadets that she too was once an Air Cadet in London, and attributes many of her successes in life to her time as a cadet and encouraged them to take every opportunity that the program has to offer.

Every year the cadets of 2818 RCACC support the Royal Canadian Legion, specifically Branch 99. This year, the Belleville Poppy Fund Committee presented a cheque to each of the Cadet corps and Squadron in the city of Belleville. Mr. Marvin Schmidt presented the VERY generous donation to the corps, to our acting Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Mitch Simms who accepted the $3'000.00 donation on behalf of the corps.

We were completely surprised about this generous donation. Captain Millar, the commanding officer of 2818 RCACC was completely surprised. She was truly touched. "It is an amazing and generous gift. I am without words. I thank you. Our cadets thank you".

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