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Civil Air Patrol: A New Year’s resolution

Earle Bretz

Earle Bretz

By Earle Bretz

Civil Air Patrol

Have you ever thought about “giv­ing back” to the com­mu­nity? How about ser­vice to your state or nation?

There is a 74-year-old orga­ni­za­tion whose vol­un­teer mem­bers do just that!  It is the Civil Air Patrol, the aux­il­iary of the United States Air Force, and it has a local unit at the Punta Gorda Air­port.  Com­pos­ite Squadron FL-051 is right around the cor­ner!  The loca­tion makes it rel­a­tively easy for its 94 senior mem­bers and 45 cadets to meet on a reg­u­lar basis.

We are a ser­vice orga­ni­za­tion.  Would you like to pro­vide ser­vice time to the area? Join us. Would you like to men­tor a group of young folks, ages 12 to 18? Join us. I know your tal­ents would be well uti­lized in help­ing the community.

We are a front-line orga­ni­za­tion with cutting-edge assets such as glass cock­pit air­craft, cell phone and radar foren­sics, FLIR tech­nol­ogy, major radio com­mu­ni­ca­tion, air­borne dig­i­tal imag­ing and much more.

No, you do not have to be a pilot to join.  We count 16 pilots among our 94 senior mem­bers. There are many jobs and dis­ci­plines to occupy your time and quench your thirst to expand your knowl­edge in your quest to serve oth­ers. You could be a scan­ner or observer, an attor­ney, a doc­tor or a finan­cial per­son.  We have career tracks for pretty much all interests.

Our cadets need adult men­tor­ing to expand their hori­zons, both men­tal and phys­i­cal. Their con­fi­dence in pro­vid­ing a pos­i­tive out­come of tasks per­formed comes through the dis­ci­pline struc­ture they are immersed in.  They drill, march, phys­i­cally train, take field trips, attend sum­mer and win­ter encamp­ments, and much more in their cadet careers.

That’s a broad brush of what we are and what we do.

Why not make one of your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions to give us a try for 2016. You might find help­ing us pur­sue our core mis­sions of emer­gency ser­vices, cadet pro­grams and aero­space edu­ca­tion can be both engag­ing and rewarding.

Stop in on Tues­day evenings at 7 p.m. and check us out. If you have a child who would like join, our cadets meet on Mon­days at 6:30 p.m.  All meet­ings are at our offices at 7355 Util­i­ties Road (behind the Sheriff’s Office at the air­port). Office phone is 941−639−1711. This may be your year to start “giv­ing back.”

CAP is the Con­gres­sional Gold Medal win­ning Aux­il­iary of the United States Air Force. Tax-deductible dona­tions may be sent to Char­lotte Squadron, 28000 A-21 Air­port Road, Punta Gorda, FL  33982–2452.  Visit CAP at FL051.flwg.us

Earle Bretz of Engle­wood is the pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the Char­lotte County Com­pos­ite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol.

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