Now, the annual best cadet award for the squadron serving the Green Bay area bears his name.
This year, the contributions and dedication of Harris — who died last year at the age of 67 — were honoured with that commemoration. The first recipient of the Capt. Harris Memorial Award — the cadet who stands out the most in terms of attitude, attendance and leadership —was Flight Cpl. Logan Morey.
“It means a lot to know his name is still with us,” said Capt. Jonathan Edison, current commanding officer.
Edison was 12 years old when he joined the cadet program under Harris. He considered the man a role model, but more importantly, a friend. He said he can only hope to emulate the leadership traits he saw in his former commanding officer as he leads the squadron.
“He would always say there are no bad kids, it was just some kids took a little more training or a little more effort to mold,” he said. “He tried to do whatever he could for every kid that was there.”
Tonya Harris, who now lives in Massey Drive, said her father dedicated himself to the air cadet squadron as the first of his four children passed through the program. He continued to do so because of his love for youth, and was striving to give them an opportunity to learn and grow.
“He helped shape so many young lives and was so well respected by the cadets, their parents and other leaders,” she said. “Just knowing he made a difference in their lives was his reason behind being involved for so long.”
Having his name attached to the best cadet award is an honour for the family.
“I think it is fantastic,” she said. “He gave so much to the cadet program, and I just think it is great that they would honour him like this.”
837 Northeast Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron (RCACS) has been serving the Green Bay area for 44 years. Edison said it would not be where it is today without Harris. Many of the youth that have been part of the program have gained a lot of life skills and experiences, and some have travelled to many parts of the world through its programs and offerings.
This year, 10 cadets will travel to summer camp in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to take part in various courses.