Retiring Capt. Dan Collings gave his cadets a proud salute as he bid farewell after 24 years of leading the 1129 Haliburton Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.
Collings formally stepped down from the role after the corps 34th annual cadet review June 15 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton.
Organizations including the Army Cadet League of Canada gave him a series of service recognition certificates as he departed the 15-cadet unit.
He leaves with his cadets on top, as Haliburton won the 2017-18 Lord Strathcona Award for the best small corps. He praised them for their effort over the year.
“Without you folks, this couldn’t happen. Your dedication, your praise, your sense of teamwork and family is second to none,” Collings said.
It was a good time for him to leave, he said. He plans to work with the Canadian Rangers in northern Indigenous communities before he retires in three years.
“It’s time to go, pass the torch,” he said. “There’s great staff here that can take over and the corps is in a great place right now. We’re in the best place we’ve ever been.”
Regional Cadet Support Unit Major Gary Burns also presented Collings with a certificate and said he is amongst the top officers he has encountered.
“For these folks to be successful, there have to be adult leaders,” Burns said. “As the commanding officer, without him, there’s no direction. He is, in fact, the pinnacle of the organization here.”
The cadets showcased their skills at the review, marching, parading and taking part in a series of program demonstrations.
Master warrant officer Jakob Bull said it was a great year for the unit.
“There have been so many opportunities. Honestly, I think the number of things this core can do is limitless,” he said. But he added it was sad seeing Collings retire.
“He was amazing, he had everything perfect to a tee. He was a super relatable guy, really humble.”
Lt. Corina Hall is taking over as commanding officer for the unit. She said Collings has led the unit since she was a cadet and though there are big shoes to fill, she is excited to take on the position.
“I’ve also been able to come up behind him and learn a lot from him,” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to taking my turn to lead the corps.”
As Collings gave his corps one last salute, he talked about how he felt about them.
“You guys are like family, like my own kids. Some of you are children of some of the cadets who were here when I started, that’s just amazing,” Collings said. “I wish you all the best. Keep up the good work.”