by Cameron Mccrohon
BRENDAN Beahan gets a buzz out of knowing he has had a positive impact on the lives of so many local teenagers.
The officer commanding the Biloela-based 124AU Cadet Unit has trained hundreds of Biloela youths in the past 10 years.
"The highlight for me is at the end of each year, seeing the seniors go off and start their adult life and walk straight into really good jobs or start university and know that they are fully prepared for what lies ahead,” Brendan said.
Brendan's dedication to the cadet unit resulted in him being named Banana Shire's Australia Day 2018 Citizen of the Year.
"Honestly, I was very surprised and honoured just to receive a nomination at all and the win was even more astounding,” Brendan said.
Under Brendan's leadership, young cadets learn decision-making and leadership skills, field craft, self-discipline and the ability to both be challenged and challenge themselves in a physical environment.
"We are in the middle of recruiting for this year and we are on track to sign up 60 cadets, which is a great result for a town of this size,” Brendan said.
"The new recruits will parade every Thursday night at the Lawrence Street barracks and training will focus on dress and drill type activity up until Anzac Day, and then after Anzac Day we will move on to field craft - living in the bush, cooking in the bush, camp concealment and navigation.
"This prepares the recruits for our annual field exercise in Townsville in September.”
Brendan was actively involved in cadets while at high school and returned to the unit about two years after he was aged out.
"I just popped in one day to say g'day to my old boss, Rod Sharpe, and he asked if I would mind giving him a hand while I was there that afternoon - and I haven't left.”
Teenagers aged between 13 and 17 interested in learning more about the cadets or joining up can drop into the Lawrence Street barracks at 6pm on Thursdays.