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Reschedule anniversary dinner – they’ve got cadets Brier Dodge
EMC news - When Capt. Cindy McKee first stayed to volunteer with cadets, it was mostly to kill time while her teenage daughter participated. At first she stayed in the west end, after driving from Orléans to cadets, and shopped – “But you can only buy so many things,” she said. She didn’t sign up expecting cadets to become a part of her daily life, even now that her daughter has finished the program and moved out of the family home. And she certainly didn’t sign up expecting cadets leader Maj. Tim McKee to ask her out on a date, and eventually pop the big question almost a year later at Christmas. They’ve now been married for six-and-a-half years, and their involvement with cadets has only increased. Monday – they have cadets. Tuesday – they have cadets. Wednesday – more cadets. Thursday is the night off, when they play in a dart league, but the weekend usually brings a pile more cadets activities. “I can’t think of a weekend in the past couple of years, minus the summer, that we haven’t had anything cadets on,” Tim said. “It’s the song that never ends.” But they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s those little things. It’s those little teeny moments,” Tim said of why it’s all worthwhile. “If it’s 30 hours, so be it, because we got to see the smile out of that one kid; it’s
Maj. Tim McKee and Capt. Cindy McKee take a quick break before running out the door to Ashbury College, where they work with cadets on Monday nights. The take on cadet business almost every day of the week – and it’s even how they met. worth it.” Even though all their children are grown-up and out of the house, both are still involved with both the Ashbury College cadets corps and the Orléans cadets, which meets at the Orléans legion.
It’s easier for the couple to commit the time because they don’t have as many distractions as some of the younger parent volunteers – even though they both started as “SIPs” (sucked-in parents). “We don’t have the little kid that’s
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY from
going to be sick; we don’t have homework,” Tim said. “We’re at the point where everything is settled.” While the McKees have summers off, they have a busy schedule of their own cadets training, and the winters are full of activities like
winter survival camp or biathlon training. On top of that, the Orléans cadets need to raise about $40,000 a year to subsidize the operating budget. So when Tim was asked why he first wanted to ask Cindy out, he said, “I was really impressed, she was clearly a very organized woman… but I mean, what guy wouldn’t (want to go out with her).” “He was a puzzle I wanted to figure out – and look at how tall he is,” Cindy said of Tim, who stands at six-feet-six “The cadets really look up to him.” But even when asked about themselves, the couple usually find a way to quickly relate it back to the kids they work with or point out the strengths of the free cadets program. Working with 170 kids a week, they’ve seen many through the program flourish with the structured activities, and it’s kept the McKees going back for more. “Anniversary, we were doing something cadets. My birthday, too. There’s always something,” Cindy says. They just “find a Saturday” for special occasions, because they are where they want to be. And even though they don’t see each other much while activities are actually going on, they’re still working as a team, with Tim the voice leading the staff and youth, and Cindy busy making things happen. “She’s the brains,” Tim said. “I make the promises – she makes them come true.”
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Orléans EMC - Thursday, February 14, 2013
February 14, 2013