Beyond the Glitz and Glitter

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News / October 31, 2013

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, sea, army and air cadets joined with citizens from across New Brunswick to support the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Gala Dinner at Fredericton’s Convention Centre. The event featured local talent and provided an opportunity for cadets to showcase their training and support a worthy cause.

Events such as the Gala Dinner held in Fredericton increase public awareness and help raise the dollars needed to support the H2H program. H2H is an innovative partnership between the federal and provincial governments, the building trades unions as well as the private sector.    This initiative helps former and serving members to use the experience, education and training they gained in the military in order to transition into new careers.  The program supports apprenticeships leading to civilian journeymen certifications in the building and construction trades and other training opportunities for administrative, engineering and management positions. 

Fredericton’s event organizer, local MLA Brian T. MacDonald, served in the Canadian Armed Forces and is a strong supporter of the Canadian Cadet Organizations.  MacDonald reached out to the local cadet corps and squadrons and, with the help of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Cadet Detachment, ensured that cadets would be part of the Gala’s program.

 “Participation in events such as the H2H Gala Dinner increases the visibility of the cadet movement and it’s important that the community shows its support for our cadets,” said MacDonald. “It’s also important for them to see that the community supports our veterans”.

During the Gala event, cadets provided a coat check service for the 250 guests, set-up an information booth on the Cadet Program, and also performed on stage as part of the 150 performers spotlighted for the evening’s entertainment. Many of the cadets chatted with various guests including regular and reserve forces members, veterans, elected officials from all three levels of government, top level civil servants, and members of the business community. 

Despite the evening’s glitz and glitter, the deeper significance of the H2H initiative was not lost to the cadets.  Citizenship is a key objective of the Cadet Program and all cadets are encouraged to give back to their communities through volunteerism and participating in community activities. For many of the cadets, helping the community support veterans was very special.

Chief Petty Officer First Class Stephanie Melvin of the 130 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps in Fredericton, has volunteered for many community events involving her unit.  She was happy to lend a hand knowing that she would be supporting Veterans.

“It’s important that the community and cadets show that they care and support our military” said Melvin. “Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are well trained but it may not be easy for them to take regular jobs after they are done serving their country.” 

This same sentiment was shared by Master Warrant Officer Jessica White of 3037 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in Miramichi, N.B.  Jessica travelled two hours from Miramichi to Fredericton in order to play clarinet in the Band. Her participation in the evening’s event allowed her to learn more about the H2H initiative and she was proud to be able to play a role in the evening’s success. 

“Events like tonight’s dinner are important … so that organizations like H2H can keep helping veterans,” said White.

 Jessica has a brother serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“All soldiers will appreciate a little help when their military careers come to an end,” she says.     

 

 

Captain Charles Allain is a cadet instructor with 130 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps in Fredericton, N.B. and a Unit Public Affairs Officer with the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Atlantic).