Legion Awards Recognize Service

 

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to Edith Walker and John Dignard for their volunteer services to the Legion. John has tirelessly volunteered in janitorial work and yard maintenance, and asked that, in lieu of payment, equivalent funds be put toward roof repairs for the Legion.  John was also presented with a plaque for the Honour Wall in the Legion.
 
 
When the Royal Canadian Legion Wetaskiwin Branch #86 held its Awards Night, it was a gala affair with pomp and ceremony adequate to fully express appreciation to the recipients of the various awards.  Held in the Wetaskiwin Memorial Centre, it naturally began with a delicious dinner for all, followed by the speeches by dignitaries before the awards were given out to recognize both length of service in the Legion, and special effort to maintain and improve every aspect of the Legion.
 MP Blaine Calkins spoke highly of this Legion Branch, and told of the many Legion Branches which are in Europe.  He also said that the government is reducing a layer of bureaucracy so that veterans can receive more benefits directly without having to apply for them.
Wetaskiwin City Mayor, Bill Elliot noted that our veterans are the ultimate volunteers, so the Legion Awards Night recognizing veterans is a fitting ending to Volunteer Week.
Wetaskiwin County Reeve, Garry Dearing saluted the veterans for their courage, recognizing all they suffered makes it possible to have this great country today.
Legion President Bev Gallagher told how the men of World War I and World War II believed our freedoms were threatened, so went far away to death and destruction to defend freedom.  She talked of following their path to Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passion Dale, Dunkirk, Dieppe, all the famous battles.  She told how there are no graves for many of the airmen, so poppies were cast into the sea in remembrance of them.  She recalled Canada's part in the UN forces in Korea, the hope to maintain world peace.  She gave credit to ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things.  She made the points that our future is their monument, and that we will only be as good in the future as those who are growing up today.  Therefore, we must remember and understand.  She closed with a tribute to military wives.
On behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary, Janice Drader Jamieson gave Certificates of Appreciation to seven ladies: Cindy Ekkel, Maureen Juhlke, Micheline Lajeunesse, Judy Zimmel, Jean Snook, Betty Tees and Diana Luebke.  Janice Drader Jamieson was presented with a Certificate of Merit.  The Ladies Auxiliary Service Medals were presented to Dana Cherniak who was president for seven years, and to Judy Kiefert for a number of years on the executive, and who is again in an executive position.  Pins for years of membership in the Ladies Auxiliary were given.  Seven received pins for 10 years: Currine Campbell, Diana Luebke, Gladys Marthaller, Shawna McCafferty, Brenda McKinney, Marleen Minaker and Anita Speth.  The only recipient of a 25 year pin was Edna Newman.  Pins for 30 years went to Darlene Feldberg, Lesley Furuness, Cheryl Giles, and Maureen Gray, while Suzetted Hawkes and Judy Kiefert received the two 35 year pins.
The Legion gave pins and medals to the comrades who have served for 50 years or more.  In recognition that these people have served the whole community as well as the Legion, Mayor Bill Elliot was invited to assist in presenting the pins and medals.  Recipients were: for 50 years, Bill Mellett and Phyllis Peterson; Richard Dutka for 51 years; for 56 years, Ronald Bobinski and Frank Kisio; for 60 years J.C.Olstead and Ron Norton; Cec Colwell for 61 years; Douglas Grant and Harold Hoyle for 63 years; Robert Wilbraham for 65 years, for 66 years, Dr. C.R.French and Biddy Odell; for 67 years, Harvey Deckert and Dr. L.E.Johnson; and for 68 years, Henry Helfrich and Donald Wood.  
A Past Officers medal and Service Officers bar was presented to Eleanor Mellett and Terry DeRae received his Past Officers medal and 1st Vice President bar.  
Certificates of Appreciation were given to Edith Walker, Don Recknagel and John Dignard.  Edith Walker gave endless volunteer service to the Legion Bingo and Casino operations, the area where Don Recknagel also volunteers.  John Dignard works tirelessly at janitorial work inside and yard maintenance outside, and has asked that, in lieu of payment, equivalent funds go toward repairs to the Legion roof.  The Legion is also pleased to present John with a plaque for the Honour Wall in the Legion.  John Dignard is also known for being instrumental in developing the special training and for gaining recognition for memory dogs as recognized service dogs.
A Certificate of Merit was awarded to Fred Clubine for his efforts in keeping the Legion bowling and cribbage clubs active.
A Certificate of Merit was awarded to Malcome “Mac” McKinnon for his outstanding contribution as Volunteer Branch Manager for the past year.  His oversight of day to day operations of the Branch have been so appreciated by the Executive Committee.
The highlight of the Awards Ceremony is the presentation of the Warren Hopfe Memorial Legionnaire of the Year Award which is given to a very deserving member who has made an unselfish and outstanding contribution to the well being and success of Legion Branch # 86.  This prestigious award was presented to Colleen Fjordbotten, an affiliate member for 15 years who has excelled as a member of the Executive Committee and Bingo Chairman since 2004.  Assisting in the presentation was Riley Moore, grandson of Warren Hopfe.
The final presentations were cheques to two organizations which Legion Branch # 86 helps to support: the Ben Nevis Band and the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron # 42.
Finishing off the evening were  thanks to everyone who had assisted in any way.  It was indeed a gala evening with a sense of appreciation and gratitude for all who assist with maintaining this worthy organization, especially for all those who received formal recognition at this time.

 

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