The Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre has gained a much deserved reputation, a healthcare facility that provides residents with the comfort of knowing top notch healthcare services are readily available in this community.
The reason – skilled and caring staff who are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. The Wetaskiwin Health Foundation has become a key player by investing the generous donations made by individuals, foundations, clubs, businesses and corporations into assisting with purchases of the medical equipment. Top notch medical professionals follow top notch equipment so that is why each and every investment made to the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation is so important.
It happened again on February 12, 2015, when three gentlemen dressed in formal Legion attire arrived at the Hospital and handed a $2000 cheque to Branin Thompson, Chair of the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation and Lillian Dykes, Executive Director. The funds are designated to assist with the purchase of a specialized mattress for the new Palliative Room in the Hospital’s Continuing Care Unit.
Ken Adair representing the Ma-Me-O Beach #252 Legion noted, “We chose the Wetaskiwin Hospital Foundation because equipment is something everyone can use. When our veterans are cared for in the Hospital it’s just kind of the right choice. We raise money through donations, the Annual Poppy Campaign and some years we also run casinos enabling us to support many worthy causes including veterans and their community. Our Branch is very small with only 32 members, including one veteran from World War II.”
There is a rich history associated with the Legion, Branch #252 in Ma-Me-O. In 1950, local veterans where looking to have a Legion closer to home than the one located in Wetaskiwin. A campaign to establish a charter was led by Dallas Schmidt and with the support of fellow veterans Ralph Bidinger, Bruce Edwards, Henry Fiveland, Cal Jackson, Don Jackson, Gusty Mattson, Art Peterson, Mac McLeod, Roy Neil, Isadoor Spence, Joseph Spence, Ralph Thorp, and Eugene Torris the Ma-Me-O Beach Legion was established on March 28, 1950.
The first meeting took place in the back room of Ralph Thorp’s Imperial ESSO station. Tired of having meetings in the gas station the fellow members pushed together two old granaries to serve as a temporary hall.
In 1953, building of the Legion Hall was started and completed the following year. A coal furnace was purchased in 1955 to provide heat for the cold winter meetings. On November 11th, 1958, the mortgage was burned and the Hall was officially owned by the Ma-Me-O Beach # 252 Legion.
On October 25th, 1967, Mac McLeod (the last remaining WW1 veteran) dedicated the cenotaph outside the hall to the brave men and women who served in WWI and WWII and following the Korean conflict a plaque was added.
The Ma-Me-O Beach Legion still remains very active in the community, remembering the values and ideals that the branch was founded on in that dusty backroom of Ralph’s Imperial ESSO. The Legion has hosted many different community events including Remembrance Day Ceremonies, community Bar-B-Qs, sponsoring local sports teams and hosting peanut days, turkey shoots and a variety of Legion rallies.
The Legion continues to support many worthy community causes as outlined by Patrick Miller, Secretary/Treasurer & Branch Service Officer. “Last year we supported the Lakeland & Area Community Library Society by contributing $1,728 to fund their annual summer reading program. We also contributed $5,000 to the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department Society to help with a $30,850 fundraiser to upgrade their ‘Jaws of Life’. The equipment will enable firefighters to extract people from new vehicles that are constructed with higher crash resistance materials. We contributed $2,000 to P.L.A.C.E, the Falun Recreational Center. We also donate to the Mulhurst Quilting Club, who make quilts for patients in long term care.”
Every year the branch sponsors a Remembrance Day Poster Contest at the Falun schools, awarding a total of $435 to promote awareness of the sacrifices made by Canadian Service men and women.
Thanks to groups like the Ma- Me-O Beach # 252 Legion, residents of Wetaskiwin and region are very fortunate. Patients continue to be assured the Hospital is equipped with sophisticated equipment such as a laparoscopic camera system for gynecological and general surgery (minimal invasion using small incisions and a camera), phaco-emulsifier (cataract removal), Dialysis Unit, video processor with high definition monitors for laparoscopic procedures, ultrasound machine for Diagnostic Imaging and the greatly acclaimed, CT Scanner.
What is the next project to be undertaken by the Foundation that will enable people in this community to invest in healthcare? Phone 780-361-4130.