From aimless to army mad

October 30th, 2007  

Topic: From aimless to army mad

From aimless to army mad

By SIMON WOOD - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 31 October 2007

'GREAT KID': Turoa Salmon with Sue Amoamo, he was a recipient of the Wallace Awards which recognises kids that have turned their lives around.
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For most of his life, Turoa Salmon was aimless. Hanging out on the streets of Opotiki, skipping school and making a nuisance of himself, he had no idea what he wanted to do.
Yesterday the 16-year-old accepted an award that recognises how far he has come - one of nine recipients of the William Wallace Awards acknowledging outstanding children in foster care. The winners share $20,000.
The prize will allow Turoa to join a trip to Gallipoli next year with the army cadets. "I want to go over for the next Anzac Day," he said. "I just want to get more experience for myself, and more knowledge."
He has been in and out of foster homes since his mother died in 2000, and he does not get along with his father. "I was being a bad boy and doing what all the young fellas do. I wasn't really going to school ... I felt like I wasn't going anywhere."
A few years ago, he decided to change. "I put a lot of bad things behind me ... I wanted to do something else."
Enlisting in the cadets on a cousin's suggestion, he now spends his weekends training, navigating and shooting on the range, and is looking forward to trying for the army next year.
He lives with caregivers Weihana and Sue Amoamo on a 400-hectare property near Opotiki, a situation he describes as "brilliant". Mrs Amoamo nominated him for the award. "He's a great kid ... He's really come on in leaps and bounds."
In his spare time, Turoa paints, plays guitar, and plays rugby. He has won poetry and talent competitions at school, and spends time pig-hunting and tramping.
Other winners include Jack Baker, from Palmerston North, and Anne-Marie Mabus, from Nelson. Both will use the grant to help pay for their university education next year.
October 30th, 2007  
Once kids like this show that they are willing to help themselves I feel that they should be the recipients of special treatment to help them further their aims. Obviously he is very capable and determined, and deserves every assistance that he can get, at least he will do something with it.

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