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NCWG Holds National Character Day

Cadets do blood testing
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Cadets run tests to check for blood. PHOTO CREDIT: 1st Lt Kate Maxfield (click image to view full size)
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Illustrious speakers discuss honor, integrity and truthfulness


Civil Air Patrol has completed another amazing National Character Day. Topics included Justice, Integrity, Honor, Respect, Reputation, Reliability and Truthfulness. Maj Joel Lipsey, NCWG Drug Demand Reduction Officer welcomed the assembly of cadet, senior members, and parents and explained why National Character Day is so important and how the character of the Civil Air Patrol is made from the good choices of the members.

Major D. Gilchrist, NCWG Asst. IAEO spoke about character in this way, “Don’t settle for less or mediocre. Good enough is never good enough. Your character is who you are when no one is looking.” He also admonished the audience to stay away from bad habits, such as texting while driving, alcohol, drugs and tobacco use.

The Honorable K. Morrisette, U.S. Dept of Justice then discussed the realm of character in this manner:  “Character is a lifetime endeavor.  Always increasing.”  She spoke about the importance of integrity, truthfulness, justice, reliability and reputation.  She also stressed the importance of personal online presence and that people are always watching what you share on social media and other sites.  She said, “Don’t be at the wrong place or in the wrong crowd.” “Relieve yourself from poor judgement.”

Col Larry Ragland, CAP's National Executive Officer, shared how character works and how to acquire it.  He referenced the Sergeant York movie citing the scene regarding a tree and its root and likened this metaphorically to character. “We need to want to have good character.  Take the action to benefit someone else. You have to make a commitment to do that. Grow your roots first, then grow them firm.” He then gave each cadet a card and shared many aspects of bad decisions.  

Alison Hutchens, Durham PD Forensics Supervisor, and Cathy Lipsey, Senior Forensics Officer, guided the cadets through some hands-on training with the latest fingerprinting techniques and identification of hidden evidence through the use of chemicals and light.

After lunch, Lt Kate Maxfield, NCWG Director of Cadet Programs, spoke to the assembly concerning the merits of being a CAP cadet and the expectations that their training, including character development, should be evident in their everyday lives. She discussed the vital importance of consistent honesty in their dealings with others and that their choices should always be above reproach.

The Burlington Police Department D.A.R.E. and DEA team MPO Lorri Catoe spent time discussing the decision to use or not use drugs and alcohol. The dialogue was very intense and gave first-hand accounts of the effects of drugs and alcohol. The effects of street drugs and recreation drugs were shown in the fatal and devastating lifestyle choices. She showed the forensics of using drugs and using poor judgement, including criminal behavior. She visually displayed the devastating effects of poor decisions. “Make good decisions now for your future.” She also addressed the idea that youth need to learn and know how to fail while they are living at home. Parents can’t give them all the answers. 

The day was concluded with CPL Faucette with Duke the working dog that had the room’s attention. Duke and CPL Faucette demonstrated their skills and searched the room for drugs. The day was filled with the honest truth about the use and misuse of drugs and alcohol as well as the importance of good character.