Captain Hayden Collins gave the keynote address at the Civil Air Patrol Florida Wing Group 3’s annual banquet in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Saturday, October 11.
The program included the presentation of Group, Region, Wing, and National awards to senior members, cadets, and Air Force officers, as well as the presentation of the Spaatz Award. The General Carl A. Spaatz Award is CAP’s highest honor, recognizing a cadet’s excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education, and it was presented at the banquet by Air Force Major General John P. Schoeppner, Jr.
To this audience, Collins spoke about those who pursue leadership, and what is expected of them. “The leadership of this nation is the 1%. You are training to be the new leaders. We will need more than 1%. Your mission is to go and make it 2%. Be About It.” Collins gave the example of how one man, one decision can change the course of our country, and that one decision makes a difference. Collins called upon the cadets and officers to be bold, to question with boldness.
In Major General Schoeppner’s presentation of the Spaatz Award, he echoed Collins’ charge, and his recognition that the most important resource we have is our youth.
The banquet’s master of ceremonies was Cadet Colonel Alec Lampasona, who received the Spaatz Award in 2012. Collins, who is the Emergency Services Officer, Group 1, Squadron 134 in CAP’s Georgia Wing, met him five years ago when Lampasona was a lieutenant in Collins’ Region Cadet Leadership School (an Advanced Training Flight course for officers) at Augusta, GA. Collins’ leadership, particularly in connection with ATF, is nationally renowned. As Lampasona introduced Collins at the banquet, he recalled that leadership training experience under Collins as one of the most influential in his life because Collins did not tell him to think, but inspired him to think for himself.
Captain Collins remarked, “I am always inspired by the youth I work with. They are waiting for the opportunity to succeed. I see the excitement and the light in their eyes, when the imagination comes to life and they know what to do.”