A Swift Current sea cadet received provincial and national awards in recognition of his leadership and dedication to the sea cadet movement.
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Theo Lautsch of the #259 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Drylander in Swift Current is the recipient of both the Navy League of Canada Saskatchewan Division Admiral Yanow Award for Merit and the 2019 National Sea Cadet of the Year Award.
The presentation took place during the annual ceremonial review of the three Swift Current cadet corps at the Fairview School gymnasium, May 25.
“I feel ecstatic,” he said afterwards. “Honestly, I was trying to hold back tears on parade. I was so excited.”
The Navy League of Canada Saskatchewan Division Admiral Yanow Award for Merit is presented annually to the sea cadet who best displays the attributes of leadership and citizenship.
The National Sea Cadet of the Year Award recognizes a cadet’s outstanding leadership and service of the highest order to the Navy League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet movement.
“In my final year of cadets this is probably the biggest accomplishment I could have asked for,” he said. “Just as a person it makes me feel proud of my accomplishments over the years.”
Lautsch, who is 18 years old, joined the and #128 Navy League Cadet Corps Prairie Schooner in Swift Current at the age of nine. He has received several awards and recognitions over the years, and he was already wearing five medals on his uniform during the ceremonial review.
“Once I received my first one in Navy League, that pushed me further forward to keep striving for more and to try and get everything that I can get,” he said.
His participation in the cadet movement has been a real benefit for his personal growth and development.
“It helped me mentor myself as for my self esteem and being more confident in myself,” he said. “It has pushed me further and I'm able to do more. It has made me a better person.”
His involvement with the cadet program in Swift Current has been a very positive experience.
“The group of cadets here are amazing,” he said. “I couldn't have asked for any better friends. They're basically like family to me.”
He wants to give back to the cadet program and he is going to apply to join the officer corps. After graduation he plans to move to Moose Jaw to study at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and he will ask for a transfer to continue to serve there with the cadets.
Lieut. Jeff Giesbrecht, the commanding officer of #259 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Drylander, said it was a great moment to see the recognition of a local cadet with the highest honours.
“It means a lot,” he noted. “We must be doing something right, having the top sea cadet in Canada. It's the first time we've ever gotten it here in Swift Current. Everybody is proud of him. We have a great group of cadets here and great staff.”
The goal of the cadet program is to develop citizenship and leadership in participants through a variety of activities.
“It takes a lot of dedication on the cadet's part, being an all-around great cadet and student and getting involved in the community a lot,” he said.
Giesbrecht felt the dedication of Lautsch is a particularly commendable part of his character as a cadet.
“He's always helping the younger ones out, a great role model for the others,” Giesbrecht said. “He gets involved in everything.”
The annual ceremonial review of the three Swift Current cadet corps is an important event to highlight the achievements of cadets during the past year.
This year's reviewing officer was City of Swift Current Deputy Fire Chief Peter L'Heureux, who took the general salute and inspected the #259 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Drylander, #605 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Tarry Squadron, and #128 Navy League Cadet Corps Prairie Schooner.
The inspection was followed by a march past and the presentation of awards to cadets that recognized their achievements and efforts during the year in different categories.
The cadet program in Swift Current had over 60 participants during the past year, with 21 sea cadets, 21 air cadets and 23 Navy League cadets. The afternoon's proceedings concluded with remarks by the reviewing officer and the general salute.