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CAN-AM proceeds send students sailing into success

  • Published
  • By By Mary McHale
  • CONR- 1st AF (AFNORTH) Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- While it may be a distant memory for some, the 2016 Canadian-American Golf Tournament April 28 became a very fresh memory for the recipient of its charitable spirit when the executive director of AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute received a check for $3200 from members of the Canadian Element North American Aerospace Defense Command July 25.

Executive director Ron Boyce was most appreciative during the presentation and said it would be used for future college scholarships for PCMI students.

“It was such a phenomenal experience getting to play in the tournament and meeting all the wonderful Canadians stationed here along with the distinguished guests in attendance” Boyce said. “I am truly honored you chose us as your charity this year.”

Royal Canadian Air Forces Capt. Mike MacNeil, 101st Aerospace Communications Squadron, said each year before the annual tournament, they review all options of different charities in the community before they decide.

“We’d heard about the school so decided to come out for a visit and take a tour,” MacNeil said. “We all feel so fortunate to be stationed in this beautiful area with such a supportive community, so we feel it’s important to give back. Of course, it’s always a challenge to decide which charity because all of them do such wonderful work.”

Col. Tony Burris, director, Director, Communication and Cyber Forces, First Air Force agreed.

"It's another chance for our partnership-building capacity with our Canadian partners," Burris said. "We benefit from the camaraderie, but the biggest benefit is knowing the charities in the community will receive a little extra help."

The institute serves as an alternative education option for youths disqualified from the regular school system through expulsion or who are sanctioned by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Alongside traditional school subjects and counseling, the students interact with a variety of marine-related projects, especially environmental restoration, preservation and clean-up efforts. Specific project include nesting protection for both seabirds and sea turtles along with shoreline and oyster bed restoration.

“We don’t have a football team, we have a scuba dive team, and instead of a French club, we have a sailing club.” Boyce said. “It’s all part of our overall goal to help students find the tools to use to help them get back on the track to success.