© Submitted photo
Moose Jaw's Lyle Johnson is a recipient of the Order of Military Merit award at the Officer of Military Merit level. The award is the military equivalent of the Order of Canada.
On the day the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the B.C. Lions in the Western Semi-Final, Lyle Johnson’s phone rang.
It was Admiral Jennifer Bennett, Canadian Chief of Reserves and Cadets with the Canadian Armed Forces. She told Johnson of Moose Jaw that he received the Order of Military Merit award for his service with the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC).
“I was certainly taken aback because it’s such an honour. It’s the kind of thing you don’t really think about because it’s a big deal,” said Johnson. “It was a very pleasant and wonderful to be selected like that. It is a great thing to have that kind of recognition, but it’s also nice for the cadet world to receive some recognition as well.”
The award is the military equivalent to the Order of Canada. The Governor General will present the award to Johnson in either the upcoming spring or fall ceremony in Ottawa.
There are three levels of the order award — commander, officer and member. Johnson is one of 22 people in the Canadian Armed Forces to receive the Officer of Military Merit (O.M.M.) this year.
The organization he belongs to, the CIC, has 7,500 members in Canada. Johnson is the only one to receive the O.M.M. this year out of the CIC.
According to the Governor General of Canada website the O.M.M. “recognizes outstanding meritorious service and leadership in duties of great responsibility.” Johnson estimated there are 90,000 members of the Canadian Forces.
As there is no O.M.M. grade set aside for the CIC, his nominations was considered along with all officers from the regular force and the reserve force.
“So that’s pretty cool. It’s a nice recognition,” said Johnson. “I have a couple of friends who have received that honour over the years and they’re outstanding individuals and so to be listed with them in the same organization is quite an honour for me.”
He doesn’t yet know when he’ll go to Ottawa for the awards ceremony.
“I don’t know right now other than they say, ‘Yes you’ve got it and it’s official. You already have been awarded it but the ceremony where you get the actual medal itself is the final part of the process,’” he said.
Johnson joined the cadets in Moose Jaw in 1964 and the CIC in 1968 as an officer. He has served as a cadet, civilian instructor, officer and now volunteer.
“It’s been a wonderful part of my life,” he said. “So it’s been a long time and certainly a great thing to be involved in that, to work with young people locally here in Moose Jaw, then regionally here in Western Canada with Vernon cadet camp and then I even got to do some international stuff with being part of a shooting program.
“(That’s) one of the positions I got to have while I was with the cadets.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.