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Effingham Cadet Squadron earns historic recognition
Effingham Cadet Squadron
It is the first time in the history of the squadron that it has achieved the Quality Cadet Unit Award. - photo by Photo submitted

RINCON — The Civil Air Patrol’s Effingham Cadet Squadron has received the Quality Cadet Unit Award (QCUA) for the 2021 program year. 

It is the first time in the history of the squadron that it has achieved this award. Despite falling to only four (4) active cadets during the “lockdown” period of the pandemic, 22 cadets and seven senior members are now active in the squadron.

In order to receive the CQUA, the Effingham Cadet Squadron met the following criteria:

— Enrollment: Unit has at least 20 cadets listed on its roster

— Onboarding: 70 percent of all new cadets from Aug. 31, 2020, earned Achievement 1 in eight weeks

— Outside activities: Unit hosted a Red Ribbon Leadership Academy or participated in a STEM competition listed below

— Aerospace: Unit has submitted a Aerospace Excellence Award (AEX) Completion Report or sent in an AAR after ordering a STEM Kit during this award cycle

— TLC graduates: Unit has at least three current training leaders of cadets graduates on its roster

— Specialty track: Unit has at least two senior members with a Cadet Programs Specialty Track rating

The success of the squadron can be attributed to a number of factors, including the cadet recruiting efforts of Commander Capt. Jeff Lariscy, the leadership of the cadet program by Deputy Commander Maj Mark Knight, the STEM Aerospace Education and Character Development contributions of Aerospace Officer Lt. JoEllen Flannery, the professional development efforts of Lt. Sharon Knight, as well as the constant contributions of Lt. Gary Welkner who is also a cadet orientation pilot, Lt. Julie Teel and Capt. Mitchell Guetterman, who commanded the squadron through the trying times of the “lockdown”.

Members of the Effingham Cadet Squadron are not resting on their laurels. They are continuing to serve the community and plan to support the Effingham County Fair on Oct. 19 by providing parking directions in the parking lot and maintaining a clean and safe midway and concessions area by removing any litter left by those attending the fair. Additionally, as many members have had first-aid and AED training, they may be able to assist in the event of injury.

Additionally, the unit plans to sponsor a STEM Saturday in January 2022 where cadets present the results of STEM projects that they have selected and completed at the direction of Flannery. Lariscy and Flannery are also working with the Georgia Southern Shooting Sports Education Center to schedule a firearms safety and training event in February 2022.