A man who is no stranger to cadet recognition has been named the country’s top officer for sea cadets.
Lt.-Cmdr. Clifford Morgan, who is the commanding officer (CO) for the 295 Baccalieu sea cadets, has been involved with the program since its beginning, 29 years ago. And after his many years of dedicated service, he was awarded the National President's Award for sea cadet officer of the year at the corps annual ceremonial review on Sunday, May 25.
The certificate explains Morgan recieved the award, "in recognition of outstanding leadership and service of the highest order to the Navy League of Canada and the Royal Canadian sea cadet movement."
Morgan has been devoted to the group, which meets in Old Perlican once a week, since the beginning as a founding member, and has helped recruit members over the years. He was CO from 1989 to 1993, and took the lead again in 2001. He still holds the role.
This is not the first time Morgan has been honoured for a cadet distinction.
In 2010, he was awarded the CO’s commendation from Regional Cadet Support Unit (Atlantic), he received the Cadet Instructors Cadre Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and was CO when the corps was named the province’s best in 2012.
Although Morgan is well known in the cadet movement and praises the corps, he is humble when it comes to personal accomplishments.
He received his award from Donald Peckham of the Navy League of Canada, which left him speechless. He managed to smile and let out a simple, “thank you”. He was surprised, to say the least.
“What can I say? Delighted. Pleased. Unexpected,” Morgan told The Compass the following day. “It’s certainly very appreciated. It’s nice to know your colleagues recognize you (for all you’ve done).”
When it was his turn to address the crowd of some 150 friends and family of corps members and special guests, he commended the cadets for their excellent work over the past year, and thanked the parents and volunteers for their dedication as well. He didn’t mention any of his accomplishments at all.
Although humble, some cadets joked during the event that Morgan likes to talk, to which he joked along. But the cadets show him great respect.
The corps and audience cheered loudly when he was given his framed certificate, but it was obvious they weren’t surprised.
Morgan was unaware he was in consideration for the award, and believes the corps kept it a secret.
“I believe they have been processing (applications) and getting letters of support without me knowing,” Morgan said. “I certainly didn’t expect it, not in my wildest dreams.”
When asked what his next step is with the sea cadet organization, Morgan said he was unsure.
“I’d like to lay low for a little while,” he said. “Over that period of time, I’ll decide what I am going to do. I enjoy it so much, so it’s a difficult decision (to stay or step down).”
Morgan admitted when he “slightly suggests” to cadets that he is considering stepping down, the responses have been negative.
“After this award, and the year we just has, I’ll have to give it some thought.”
Morgan was an educator for 30 years, and concluded his career in 2011 as the assistant principal at Baccalieu Collegiate, the school where cadets are held every Wednesday night.
He is also a councillor with the Town of Old Perlican.
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken two top awards for sea cadets this year.
Morgan’s award comes on the heels of a St. John’s teenager taking the top award for sea cadet in the country.
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Dinn earned the distinction Saturday, May 24 at the HMCS Cabot Naval Complex in her hometown.