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Susan and Rob Creer are shown on the front porch of their family’s Dundas home.

Air cadets teaches many lasting life lessons

735 Firebird Squadron marks 50th anniversary

By Debra Downey, Senior Editor

It’s really no surprise that a passion Susan Creer developed as a toddler continues to influence her life some 40-odd years later.

Creer was a tiny two-year- old when she scrambled into her first airplane.

After moving from Liverpool to Dundas, Susan’s father, Peter, developed a keen interest in flying and joined the Experimental Aircraft Association for enthusiasts of home-built, or amateur-built,  aircraft.

As a young girl, the Creers — brother Rob, mom Marilyne, dad and Susan — travelled almost every weekend to the Guelph airport to take to the skies.

“(Flying) is so free, even parachuting,” Creer said. “It’s quiet. It’s just gorgeous. You can see for miles and miles and miles.”

Rather than diminishing as she got older, Creer’s passion for flight only increased. When she reached her teens, Creer joined the 735 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets, in Dundas. For the youngster whose passion was planes, it was a perfect fit.

“I loved the chance to be able to go flying,” she said.

Creer has fond memories of regularly rubbing elbows with pilots and others at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. No chore was ever too large or too small. Creer mopped floors in the hangar and helped out with the air show.

She also participated in annual inspections, public speaking, meteorology, citizenship activities, fundraising Tag Days, U.S. exchanges and search-and-rescue exercises.

Creer said air cadets taught her many lessons she has carried throughout her life.

“Simple things like discipline, the value of friendship and camaraderie and problem-solving skills,” she said.

Creer was an air cadet for seven years, from the ages of 13 and 19, while her brother went into the Royal Canadian Navy as a regular forces member.

The air cadet program focusses on developing leadership skills, promoting good citizenship and encouraging physical fitness and healthy lifestyles in an atmosphere designed to stimulate interest in the Canadian Forces.

Since the years she was actively involved in air cadets, Creer and other family members have remained in close contact with the organization.

And with the squadron’s 50th anniversary approaching in June 2013, Creer — who recently attained her event and conference management certificate from Mohawk College — was tapped to organize the celebration.

Events planned include the annual review, followed by a semi-formal dinner at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on June 1. The annual inspection is open to the public and starts at 3 p.m. The cost to attend the anniversary dinner is $55 per person.

For further information and registration, visit firebird502013.wordpress.com or contact Creer at firebird502103@live.com.

To learn more about air cadets or to join, drop by the Dundas community centre on Monday nights or call 905-627-3917.

 

At a glance

735 Squadron was originally formed in Ancaster on May 21, 1963, by Eric Walker, who was the first commanding officer. The sponsor was the Optimist Club of Ancaster. Flight Lieutenant Jerry Sabourin became the second commanding officer and, in 1965, as a result of a move to start another squadron in Dundas, it was decided to join forces.

The squadron became Dundas-Ancaster, moved to Dundas and squadron leader Stuart Winn became the third commanding officer. Along with the Ancaster Optimist Club, Dundas Air Force Club, Waterdown Legion and Dundas Legion joined as sponsors.

For more information, see http://735firebird.wix.com/cadets.

 

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