A momentous occasion unfolded on August 4 at the Lt. Col Craig Armoury. The purpose of the gathering was to bestow the Annual Top Senior Cadet award upon a deserving recipient, Cadet Master Ward Officer Alora Smith. This award was presented under the distinguished patronage of President Don Henry and Vice President Walter Weir of the Lt. Col W. C. Craig Armoury Historical Society, acting on behalf of Captain Chris Atkin, MMM CD Ret., and Lt. Col. Grant McLean OMM CD Ret.
In the presentation, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Cadet Corps 2645 Vermilion Cadet Master Ward Officer Alora Smith was not only granted a cash award of $50, but also had the honour of her name being inscribed on a trophy that stands as a tribute to the memory of 2nd Lieutenant Brian John Denness CD, a stalwart advocate of cadet corps and competitive shooting.
The creation of this annual award owes its existence to the collaboration of Major Chris Atkin, OMM CD Ret., Lt. Col. Grant McLean OMM CD Ret., and Capt. Don Henry CD Ret. The award serves as a lasting tribute to the spirit of 2nd Lt. Brian John Denness CD.
Reflecting on the significance of the award, Major Chris Atkin, OMM CD Ret., shared, “The award was in honour of a dedicated member of the British and Canadian Army and late of the Regiment, 2nd Lt. Brian John Denness CD. Brian was an extraordinary individual whose dedication to duty outshone all others. He was without peer as a rifle/small arms Canadian Forces shooting coach and Alberta District Recruiting Officer. He is a person for whom Grant and I have a great fondness. Sadly, Brian passed away in June of 2016. The Vermilion Corps award is intended to keep his memory alive.”
President Don Henry explained that the receiving Cadet must be a senior cadet, and at least a gold star level. He further explained that the cadet is selected by a promotion review board led by the Commanding Officer of Corps, and that the award may not be awarded each year.
In a conclusion to her journey within the Vermilion Cadet Corps, Cadet Master Ward Officer Alora Smith, who is on the cusp of transitioning to the next chapter of her life expressed her thoughts upon receiving the award, stating, “I was very shocked and honoured to receive the award. I am honoured to be a part of something bigger, and it is always really special to be a part of this memorial award vs any other award. I am really proud of myself for working hard to be eligible to receive it.”