One of the most prestigious awards a young Canadian can receive was recently awarded to Red Deer Sea Cadet Tanner Redel.
Redel, 19, had previously received the bronze and silver medals before completing all the volunteer and physical recreation work required to receive the gold.
“The cool part is that he’s supposed to get the gold from the male member of the Royal family and the next one would be William when he and Kate come this July to the Stampede, so that’s what we’re hoping for,” said Al Redel, Tanner’s dad.
Tanner started working on the activities for the medals when he was 14 and finished when he was 18.
The award is presented as the highest honours award for community service and physical fitness.
“I did most of it on my own determination with no coach telling me to do this or that, I chose every single thing that I did here,” said Tanner.
The Duke of Edinburgh award is not a part of the Cadet program awards, even though it is highly supported.
Tanner knew about the award when he was 12, but could not begin the journey towards receiving the medals until he was 14.
The requirements Tanner had to meet included a total of 105 hours of community service, 12 days on an “adventurous journey”, 24 months learning or working on a specific skill and 120 hours of physical recreation.
“I had used all of the Cadet things for the skills before, but for gold I decided to learn how to play the piano which I had never done before,” said Tanner.
The journey that must be done is anywhere from three to five days, but Tanner spent a lot more than that on his trips each time including one of two weeks and another of a full month.
“I definitely thought for the Duke of Edinburgh that it was the journey that was one of the best things,” said Tanner.
One of the things he enjoyed was meeting new people as part of the process to receiving the award.
As part of an exchange program, and as something he could count towards the award, Tanner went to France.
“It was a residential project where we had to enter into a situation where the majority of the people you don’t know and you are new to the situation,” said Tanner.
He laughed as he remembered that they were told to speak French even inside their English-speaking group to completely immerse themselves in the culture they were surrounded by.
“Any young Canadian can apply for (the Duke of Edinburgh). I don’t think a lot of people understand that or think that they can get involved,” said Al.
As a part of Sea Cadets Tanner has taken part in many activities including sailing on Sylvan Lake.
In his career as a cadet he successfully made it to the top of his group as highest-ranking cadet in the corps with the official title CPO1 Coxswain.
Tanner said some of the things he loves most about the Cadet program include the friendships, the fitness required to participate and the leadership and self-discipline that he learned.
“I used to be the scrawny kid with glasses but after Grade nine I was on every team and even though I wasn’t the best on all the teams I tried everything.”
Tanner has also received the Alberta Award of Excellence, and the Most Promising Ordinary Cadet when he was first in Cadets.
“They gave me the award as most promising and then I made it all the way.”
Outside of Seas Cadets Tanner is as any other 19-year-old would be, playing video games, sports, especially swimming and dancing, including jive and salsa, and reading.
“What doesn’t he do would be a better question,” said Al.
He remains active inside the college community and continues to volunteer as well.
“I like to help out every once in a while and it’s fun too.”
Tanner has been a part of Sea Cadets since he was 12 and upon turning 19 can no longer take part.
He is planning on returning as a volunteer upon completion of his semester at Red Deer College.