Captain Rob Buller and his wife Deana are long-serving leaders in the Canadian Cadets program, and the two who now help lead the Kitimat Sea Cadet unit have been recognized with notable awards.
Deana was recently awarded a Canadian Forces Decoration for her long service in the organization, while Rob takes the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
The awards were presented by visiting B.C.’s Cadets program’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Stan Bates.
Bates noted in his speech to the cadets and visitors that Rob’s medal was based on a recommendation by the Cadets’ Central Region, in Ontario where Rob lead a cadets unit.
“All his superb leadership and effort in Kitimat is only reinforced and validated by Central Region,” said Bates, in praising the word in re-establishing a cadets program in Kitimat.
Rob said that starting a cadets unit was among his first priorities since being assigned to Kitimat for his job.
“As soon as I found out I was coming to B.C. I started thinking ‘who do I know in B.C.?’,” said Rob. That question eventually connected him with Bates which started the process of starting again Kitimat’s Navy League, the executive which oversees local cadet programs.
His work paid off when the cadets held their first parade last November.
Deana’s award was notable to Bates because he said it’s hard to find people who will still with the organization a long time, many just participating for as long as their own kids are cadets.
I think you should wear this with extreme pride,” he said in presenting the medal.
Deana, who is currently the administration officer and instructor for the local cadets, told the Sentinel that she joined the army cadets when she was 12 years old in Toronto, and kept with the organization until she turned 19.
She’s been through several parts of the Canadian Forces, and said she really enjoys the program for the leadership skills , instructional skills and the responsibility it teaches.
From her many years, one of her greatest memories was from when she was 16, and went on an exchange to Germany and had the chance to train with the German army.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said.
Meanwhile the local group, the 205 RCSCC Kitamaat, is still growing, and with the first wave of cadets going through, Rob hopes to see their enrolment numbers rise. He saw rapid increases in membership back in Ontario, which he credits to word of mouth by the cadets themselves.
“It’s cadets telling cadets at school,” he said, hoping that the current cadets will help spread the word to their peers.
The Kitimat group’s website is www.kitimatcadets.com, and there is information there about how to join.