by Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (November 4, 2018) – At a private fundraiser hosted by Mayor Patty Eidam on October 20, members of the community were introduced to Civil Air Patrol cadets and adult leaders Major Barbara Buckner and Major Rick Zalud and learned about the many benefits of being part of the program. Attendees made donations toward the squadron totaling $4,600.
Buckner said there are three ways the squadron plans to use the funds. “The first plan is to get every cadet a full and complete uniform (Blues and ABUs) which also includes all insignia and ribbons. While cadets are able to receive a $100 voucher towards the purchase of the blues uniform, it still only covers the basics of shirt, pants/skirt, belt, and some money to cover the nameplate and first rank. Items such as the service coat are highly expensive and many of our cadet officers don’t have one, which also hinders their participation in certain activities outside the unit, which then hinders their wanting to participate in leadership training or activities outside of the unit,” said Buckner.
“The second plan is to get each cadet equipped with Emergency Services gear so that more of them can train and participate in practice as well as actual missions. Thunder responds to more than fifty percent of the missions in Illinois and will assist in Indiana so being able to get more cadets trained up and involved has always been a passion for Rick.”
The third way that the funds will help the squadron is by using some of it to create scholarships for cadets to attend national activities and training programs. Cadets have to advance to a certain point in the program before applying to these activities and, if selected to attend, have to pay $65–1,050, depending on the activity. That cost can discourage participation.
Mayor Eidam said she is most impressed by the cadets’ “dedication to the organization and their eagerness to learn about aviation and emergency preparedness, their respect for others, including veterans, their leaders and fellow comrades, and their willingness to help others whether in emergency situations or community service.”
CAP’s Thunder Squadron has been involved in a number of Lansing events and projects over the years, including posting colors at Village Board meetings, helping with parking and games at the Quasquicentennial event, and serving at the Lansing Police Department Touch-A-Truck event, Fetching Market, LARC dinners, Ghostly Games, the Lan-Oak Park District’s Easter Egg Hunt, and Lansing Autumn Fest.
Civil Air Patrol meets weekly at Heritage Middle School in Lansing and is open to youths ages 12 to 20. Thunder Squadron has approximately 38 cadets and 17 senior volunteer members.