COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. (November 3, 2016) – Four Chattanooga Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets spent the afternoon with the residents at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, Collegedale. The cadets shared stories about what inspires them to join the United States Armed Forces, and described what it means to be a CAP cadet.

As part of the Morning Pointe Meaningful Day™ program, the memory care community invites youth groups to engage in intergenerational activities with the residents.

“The military as a team does so much together that we bond just like family. It’s a place where we can confide in others,” said Nathan LeVan, 18, homeschool student and CAP master sergeant, who aspires to be in the U.S. Air Force someday. “You learn to lead, to comfort each other, to be there for each other.”

Deard Ellis, The Lantern at Collegedale resident who retired from the U.S. Air Force, enjoyed exchanging his experiences with the young men.

“You feel like screaming, but you push through and push your comrades,” said Ellis, who continued to describe the trials of battle during his time in service.

The residents were impressed by the cadets, who were clad in neat uniforms and inspired by respect for their country – all serving as reminders to the seniors of a time where the values of honor and pride were alive.

Dawn Dunn, Lantern program director, says she asks volunteers if they can come dressed in their uniforms, as it helps reignite old flames in the minds of the memory care residents.

“These visuals are a big factor in helping facilitate our residents’ memories,” Dunn says. “These fine young men came dressed in their uniforms for this very reason… a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Founded in December 1941, the Civil Air Patrol serves as the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, expanding to provide programs for the education of cadets in aerospace and emergency services.

The program caters to teens and young adults ages 12 to 21, imparting in them the physical and mental leadership training to prepare them for careers in the Armed Forces.