Cadet for a Day: Academy welcome local boy, 7, into Cadet Wing

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Cadet Squadron 30 now has a new addition to their ranks: Benny Remmer.

Benny, of Monument, might seem a bit young to be admitted to the Academy, but his perseverance in coping with Burkitts lymphoma made him the perfect candidate to join CS-30's ranks and experience the Academy's Cadet for a Day program. 

Benny's parents, Randy and Laurie Remmer, and his 9-year-old brother, RJ, met CS-30 cadets for dinner at a local restaurant Oct. 2, but Benny found himself far busier Oct. 3, when he received the Academy's full VIP Cadet for a Day treatment.

Accompanied by his new squad-mates and his family, Benny had breakfast in the Academy's control tower, took part in a 10th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department demonstration and led his squadron across the terrazzo during the day's noon meal formation. He also toured the academic and athletic facilities, and watched a Chemistry Department magic show and a Behavioral Sciences Department demonstration.

"The word that grabbed us all is 'overwhelmed,"' Randy Remmer said. "Laurie and I just talked about we really need to settle down about it. It was a whirlwind of activity in an overwhelmingly positive way; a completely wonderful experience."

Benny's Cadet for a Day experience culminated at the Air Force vs. Navy football game here Oct. 3, where he stood on the field for the official coin toss, received a Falcon football helmet from Athletic Director Dr. Hans Mueh, and watched the game from the prime seats given to his family.

The Remmers knew little about the Academy before they received the invite for Benny to become its latest cadet, Randy Remmer said.

"My perspective on what the Academy does was based on my going to a military high school," he said. "I was completely unaware of the community outreach there. I had no what idea what the Air Force Academy represented for the community for cadets."

This soon changed.

"It was very obvious after the dinner that the cadets really cared (about the Cadet for a Day Program)," Randy Remmer said. "It's something they have a lot of passion for. They really took the time to get to know us and tailored the event for us on every level. At the end of everything, we feel like we have several new family members."

Randy Remmer said his family still has a hard time summing up the event.

"The best way I can say it, is we feel like we're part of the Air Force Academy and they made us feel part of them," he said. "The amount of cadets who didn't even have a part in the event, who stopped to say 'hi' or salute (Benny), was just incredible. They really made him feel like the cat's meow."

Benny's Burkitts lymphoma is currently in remission, Laurie Remmer said in an email to the Cadet Wing.

"Burkitts is one of the fastest growing aggressive cancers ... but he's now in remission," she said. "We are so fortunate!"

The Cadet for a Day program started here in 2000 by cadets and is funded through cadet donations. Academy graduates have taken the program to other Air Force installations as a model. For example, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., started its own Pilot for a Day Program several years ago based on the program. Cadet for a Day candidates are submitted to the Academy by the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Some of the cadets and Academy staff involved in this latest cadet-led event were:  Cadets 1st Class Chloe Donoho and Loius Fasano; Cadets 2nd Class Danielle Kaufman and Konner Moden; Cadets 3rd Class Allyson Doran and Shannon Field; Captains Jennifer Castaneda, Lindsey Kirchoff, Thomas Lohmeyer and Lt. Col. Rico Aragon.