By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week’s Community Spotlight takes us to Crystal, where a group of teenagers and young adults have a “tactical” way of giving back.

Tuesday nights at the Crystal Airport have taken on a patriotic feel, which is when a group of young cadets get together with a mission all about giving back. Discipline and hard work are a big part of volunteering.

“It’s just kind of nice because you know so many people who put in work to make your life better, and it’s just kind of nice to give back,” said Sarah Chanski, a cadet.

The North Hennepin Squadron, Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and this squadron has more than 40 cadets, some as young as 12 years old.

“It sounded like a real good opportunity. Leadership building and volunteer service, so I thought I would come out and check it out and it turned out pretty good,” said Samuel Kessler, a cadet.

The cadets’ meetings are opened by the Color Guard, who won the state Color Guard competition. It’s helping others that really interest the group of cadets.

Last spring, the cadets went to Fargo to help with the floods, putting in a full day of lifting thousands of pounds worth of sandbags.

“Some of the homeowners were coming out and crying, you know, and thanking us,” said cadet Matthew Dahlager. “It prepares you for so much in your life.”

“The first question after we got back here was, ‘Are we going back tomorrow?’ That community volunteer service at the heart of the program is just outstanding,” said Capt. Robert Swanson of the Civil Air Patrol, North Hennepin Squadron.

WCCO-TV along with Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum, and Carey, thought so too, which is why the group was chosen as this week’s Community Spotlight winner and got a check for $500.

The cadets also help with volunteer work at county fairs and do volunteer grocery bagging at grocery stores.

They said the $500 will go towards a new flag pole and paying for the Color Guard’s regional competition in Sioux Falls.

John Lauritsen

Comments (2)
  1. Proud of our youth says:

    Great job kids! The world needs more young people like you and less wannabe gang bangers. You make us all proud.

  2. LeAnn Hermann says:

    Two of my grandchildren are in this unit and I am very proud of all that they do. I so believe in service to your country and what a great way to get oriented. Keep up the great work and congratulations.