PAUL Boddington was asked several times to become the captain of the Lockyer Valley Australian Army Cadet Unit 139 before he accepted the position.
But Captain Boddington knocked back the position only because he enjoyed working alongside the cadets too much.
But due to his health, he took charge of the unit and said he was able to acquire great staff to help out.
That was six years ago, and he has had 18 years as part of the unit in total.
Now, Capt Boddington is handing over the reins of the unit, but assures he will still be around in his new role in the regional support unit.
"I have a specific role where I'm dealing with special projects, mainly the field engineer requirement for the brigade," he said.
Capt Boddington said he had joined the army cadets as a youth member from 1972 to 1975.
In 1977 he enlisted in the army, where he was a field engineer.
But in 1996 he was discharged from the army after a massive heart attack while on military duties in Mt Isa, which he was told was due in part to heat stress and strain.
After 10 days in intensive care and a month in the cardiac ward, he came out of hospital with no intention of giving up the life he loved.
"I wasn't ready to give up on this type of life, and I knew I still had something to give and I went and joined cadets not long after I got back from Mt Isa," he said.
"I had to have 12 months off and I started the proceedings of joining this probably a month after I got back."
He said his first doctor told him to go home, put his feet up and he would be dead in five years, but that was 18 years ago.
"I just kept myself busy, with this and my scouts," he said.
As well as cadets, Capt Boddington is a scout leader, currently for Flinders district, something he has done for 32 years.
"I am the district activity leader for construction, field craft and navigation, and it is something that I really enjoy doing," he said.
Capt Boddington originally went to join the army cadet unit in Ipswich, but it had no vacancies, so he ventured to the Lockyer Valley for an interview.
He walked into the interview with the captain at the time and he was handed a book.
That book detailed the basics of field engineering. Capt Boddington handed the book back and said, "Ask any questions you like".
Since 1997 he has filled the role of not only captain but also admin officer, store man and training officer.
"We work on a policy that we send the cadets home tired, dirty but not hungry, and they have got to have fun doing it," he said.
"This has been a great experience for me. I am very sad to hand the unit over."
He said his health issues were things he had to live with, and if he could be involved until he couldn't do anything else, he would be happy.
"I enjoy teaching the youth of today," he
"Without the support of Adele, my wife, I wouldn't be able to do half the stuff I do.
"Some days it is totally exhausting, but then I see a happy kid, whether it be cadets or scouts."
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