Source: Owatonna People’s Press
By ANNA SEGNER firstname.lastname@example.org; Updated Jun 24, 2016
OWATONNA — As 2016 Owatonna High School graduate Joseph Belina prepares to report to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs later this month, he looks back at his four-and-a-half years with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Owatonna Composite Squadron as highly beneficial.
“Of all the things I’ve done, Civil Air Patrol has allowed me to take a group of people and take them from point A to point B in leadership,” Belina said. “It probably has done the most in changing me to be the most fit to be an officer in the Air Force.”
CAP is an all-volunteer organization that is part of the United States Air Force. CAP has three main missions: aerospace education, emergency services and the cadet program.
At CAP, Belina is known as Cadet Lieutenant. On Tuesday evening, he was awarded the General Billy Mitchell Award from Lieutenant Colonel Don Sorenson, the vice commander of the CAP Minnesota Wing.
The General Billy Mitchell Award marks the completion of the leadership phase of the cadet program.
To earn the General Billy Mitchell Award, Belina passed two comprehensive exams on leadership theory and aerospace topics, completed the Cadet Physical Fitness Test, went to Encampment and met leadership expectations.
Upon earning the award, Belina joins CAP officer ranks, a goal he set for himself in the program.
Upon receiving the award, he encouraged fellow cadets to work hard as well. “Set a goal, and stop at nothing to accomplish it,” said Belina. “Find something you want and do it. Yes, it is that simple.”
CAP Cadet Captain James Sagstetter was honored with the Amelia Earhart Award by Colonel James Garlough, the commander of the CAP Minnesota Wing.
The Amelia Earhart Award marks the completion of the command phase.
Sagstetter passed two comprehensive exams covering leadership theory and aerospace topics, wrote a staff duty analysis, completed the cadet physical fitness test, served as a staff member and met leadership qualifications.
“Everything good about my character, I think, has come from Civil Air Patrol. Everything from the honesty that I have, from the respect I show others and the improvements in my temperament are from the six years I’ve spent in Civil Air Patrol,” Sagstetter said.
Sagstetter served as Cadet Commander in the Rochester squadron. Traditionally, after people serve their term as cadet commanders, they leave the program.
“I loved civil air patrol so much that I didn’t want to leave, so I started driving an hour so I could come here,” Sagstetter said. “It allowed me to continue all that the program offers for longer.”
Sagstetter has asthma and is medically disqualified from the service, but now that he has graduated, he plans to work in auto mechanics. He plans to remain involved in Civil Air Patrol as a senior member.
Both Belina and Sagstetter were read a personal note of congratulations for their awards from a constituent services representative of Al Franken.