Volunteer recognized with prestigious award
By S.L. Furedi
Roger Fairhurst thought he was at a regular meeting of District of Sparwood council to present a thank you plaque to Mayor Cal McDougall; he had no idea about the surprise he would get.
Fairhurst, chair of the Elk Valley Air Cadets’ Squadron Sponsoring Committee, thanked council for its efforts to find a permanent headquarters for the cadets. The squadron had grown too large for the Fraternal Order of Eagles’ hall, and moved to the Lower Sparwood Fire Hall in September. He said the efforts of the Public Works staff to make the move possible, at the direction of council, showed the community’s commitment to such a worthwhile youth program, and its continued growth in the Elk Valley. He thanked former Fire Chief Jim Jones, current Fire Chief Dean Spry and Dwayne Lawrence, the Director of Community and Facility Services for their part in the process.
He then presented the plaque to McDougall, and afterwards, turned to go back to his seat. Before he could do that, though, McDougall told him there was something he needed to give him. The two were joined by British Columbia Provincial Committee (BCPC) Regional Representative Yvette Doratty, who presented Fairhurst with a certificate of merit, on behalf of the Air Cadet League of Canada and BCPC in recognition of outstanding service to the Air Cadet League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
The citation that was presented with the award stated: “Mr. Roger Fairhust has provided meritorious service to 279 Elk Valley Squadron and its Squadron Sponsoring Committee since 2011. He initially served as Vice-Chair and is currently the Chairperson of the SSC.
“Mr. Fairhurst’s record of achievement is noteworthy since his is credited with saving the squadron from being shut down due to an ongoing low cadet strength. His efforts were successful in ‘turning the Squadron around’ and included; improving squadron enrolment, ‘reclaiming squadron charitable status’, ensuring ‘full compliance’ with Air Cadet League regulations and securing cost effective, suitable accommodations, in particular, in securing a recent lease arrangement that will greatly improve the Squadron’s long term accommodation outlook. A few examples of his exemplary dedication and strong commitment include building a storage shed, assisting with the introduction of band instruments, including tuition, building flight simulator cabinets, attending BCPC functions and providing aid as needed, to cadets and squadron staff. As an active community member and known as an accomplished musician and entertainer, has used his talent to encourage community financial support for squadron activities, consequently, according to his nominator, ‘he forges an important link between the Squadron, business and community members’, always a key element in a Squadron’s success. Also noteworthy is the way in which he has successfully engaged his employer and community in securing funds and has even found a way to convert one of his personal vacation days to funds, all of which are matched by his employer.
“To quote his nominator ‘he has many admirable qualities but one of his strongest attributes is his ability to tackle challenges and see them through to fruition and completion. He does not seek praise nor recognition and is that silent, studious and dedicated team ember who is seldom heard by who often works the hardest.’
“Mr. Fairhurst’s contribution to the success of the Squadron goes well beyond the words expressed in this citation, which falls short of describing the many attributes of this volunteer. Notwithstanding, the British Columbia Provincial Committee of the Air Cadet League of Canada wishes to recognize and acknowledge the meritorious services of Mr. Fairhurst by granting him this Certificate of Merit Award.”
Lead image: The Elk Valley Air Cadets presented a thank you plaque to the District of Sparwood for its efforts to secure a new headquarters for the squadron. From left are: Flight Sergeant Grant Mills, Flight Corporal Erin Mills, Squadron Sponsoring Committee Chair Roger Fairhurst, Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall and former squadron Commanding Officer Captain Murray Clow. (Photo S.L. Furedi)