By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander


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Following what TS Koopa Training Officer AJ Hughes has described as a really fantastic year for the cadets and staff of the Australian Navy Cadets local unit, parents and supporters attended the end of year Ceremonial Division and Awards at the Sandstone Point facility recently. Under skies which at times threatened to dampen the occasion, cadets were presented with a range of awards for their achievements and some received promotions.

Featured Image(above): Ready for inspection

The morning began with the unit assembling for the official welcome by Petty Officer Hughes and the Colours and then the parade falling in for inspection by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Garth Schmith and Executive Officer Sub- Lieutenant David Withers. As MC for the morning, PO Hughes summarised the events of 2018 and told those present that the year’s activities had included attending the YMCA training camp as well as a march through the City of Brisbane.

He also pointed out that the unit had attended several local events including Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans Day the recent Bribie VMR Emergency Services Expo where they attracted a number of new recruits. Petty Officer Hughes said that in the new year, fifteen cadets from TS Koopa will travel to Sydney where they will participate in tours of various military bases and museums and that 2019 will also be a year in which the unit will get back into sailing.

Petty Officer AJ Hughes was the MC

Before commencing the awards ceremony, he made mention of the important role that the Unit Support Committee plays in funding the cadets’ activities. At this point, the announcement of the award recipients began with representatives of community organisations being asked to make the presentation of each award. Award recipients were, Jonah Stokes (Robin Houston’s Highest Achievement Cadet of the Year), Ella Adams (The Commanding Officer’s Cadet of the Year), Marissa Simpson (Best Senior Cadet), Zeke Parry (Best Junior Cadet), Yasmin Campbell and Isaac Dean (Best DressedCadets), Lachlan Smith (Most Improved Cadet), Joseph Fitzgerald (Jacob Miles Encouragement Award), Piper Campbell (Recruiter of the Year), Angus Bell (Recruit of the Year).

The award for the person who has excelled at showing the ANC values went to Pat Withers of the Unit Support Committee. A number of cadets were promoted from Cadet Seaman to Cadet Able Seaman and Recruit Cadet Angus Bell was promoted to Cadet Seaman. Before the Commanding Officer made his speech, a special presentation was made to Sub-Lieutenant David Withers and wife Pat in recognition of their continued dedication to the upkeep of the unit and the facility.

On beginning his address to all present, Lieutenant Schmith said that the unit would not be half of what it is without the great effort of the staff which includes Sub-Lieutenant Withers, Petty Officer AJ Hughes, Petty Officer Danielle Holingsworth and soon to return Petty Officer Christine Howitt. He thanked the cadets for their commitment to doing their best and said that he is extremely proud of them all. Prior to the morning’s ceremony drawing to a close, Chaplain Rev. Colin Baxter RAN (Ret) described how he considers his role as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people and is extremely grateful for that.

He told the cadets that they will never forget the value of the discipline that they learn and remarked that the integrity and endeavour will remain with them for life. In closing the event, Petty Officer Hughes expressed thanks to the Unit Support Committee for their work, including the provision of the lunch that was to follow. This was enjoyed by many who attended by way of a gold coin donation.

A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.