After 30 years in service of the Cadet program Capt. Robert Steven Harker is retiring, but says he will continue to support the program as a volunteer working from the sidelines.
During the 202 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Chilcotin’s 50th annual ceremonial review in June Capt. Harker was presented with a commemorative oar for his many years of service to the organization.
“It is a good feeling knowing that some of my cadets have graduated from cadets and have either gone into the military service or grown up and are now commanding officers themselves,” Capt. Harker said in his parting statement.
Harker said he was able to dedicate time for cadets with the support of his wife and that all of his children benefitted from participating in the Cadet program.
Harker started his cadet career in Castlegar in 1984 as a civilian for the 581 Royal Canadian Air Cadets. In 1986 he joined the CIL as a commissioned officer, joining the supplemental reserve list for six years after that.
In 1994 while living in Mackenzie he came out of the supplemental reserve to join the 787 Banshee Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
Except for a six-month period when he served as the training officer, he served the unit for 14 years as commanding officer.
After retiring from working in mills in Mackenzie region, Harker moved to Quesnel. Since Quesnel had a full complement of officers at the time, Harker spent two and a half years travelling to Williams Lake to serve with the 202 Chilcotin Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.
After spending a year serving under then CO Capt. Mike Berns Harker assumed the role of the commanding officer.
Capt. Harker served as CO for the Chilcotin Sea Cadets for four years and on February 1 this year turned over command to Lt. (N) David Frey.
Although he has retired from the military Harker says he will continue to work with the 202 Chilcotin Sea Cadets but on the civilian side of the partnership.
Given his experience working with different units around the province, Harker is looking forward to being of assistance to the Williams Lake Navy League with their part in managing the corp.
“I thank all of the many officers who I have had the privilege of working within Cadets and I am still friends with many of them,” Harker said.