The Lacombe Legion Branch #79 Ladies Auxiliary is celebrating 70 years of serving veterans in Lacombe.
The Auxillary marked the achievement by welcoming members and community members including Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasy, Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law and MLA Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr to an afternoon tea which includes speechesand stories from Lacombe Auxiliary members
Lea Redekopp, president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lacombe Legion, said it is a unique thing for an auxiliary to have lasted 70 years.
“There is not many Legion Auxiliaries left and we are one of the few that have got to 70 years. It is a real pleasure to have some of our lifetime members who have been here the whole 70 years,” she said.
On top of welcoming old members, the Ladies Auxiliary is also encouraging young women in Lacombe to come and help them support local veterans.
“Fifty-one members started this in 1948 and we have about 15 active members,” Barbara Burnett, district commander for District 4, said. “We are looking for new members and they don’t have to be associated with a veteran — anyone can come and join.
“We really need new people to keep our mission of looking after veterans going.”
Much of the Auxiliary’s work goes towards veterans in need in Lacombe, however the group also supports other community initiatives including providing bursaries to schools in the region.
“Even though we are short in numbers, we still try to make a difference in the community,” Redekopp said. “We have been donating to Family Services for items for seniors and we donate to our veterans who require help.
“The people we support gave a lot. I am the daughter of a veteran and a wife of a veteran and we need to help them all out. We are also seeing the young people going over now and they are going to need our help.”
AB-NWT Command President Margaret Koenig said the women’s of Ladies Auxiliaries across her region put in a huge amount of hours in support of their communities.
“Throughout Alberta and the North West Territories, they all have worked extra hard and they have put in a lot of time — giving a lot of themselves,” Koenig said. “These ladies work bingos, catering — doing whatever they can to do all this and I am very proud of all of them.”
Koenig said it is important to attract new members to the Legion — both male and female — in order to ensure that November 11th will continue to be properly commemorated.
“The Legion is still a strong part of the community, especially on November 11th. Without them, November 11th could slide away. It is important for young people to hear these stories. Please help us keep this going,” Koenig said.
Redekopp added anyone who can make a donation and give their time is greatly appreciated.
“Especially volunteering. We feel bad that we can’t spend more time at the nursing homes and lodges where most of our veterans are. If we had more people, we could do more in the community than we can now,” she said.
She added, “I want to thank everyone who came out and supported us today.”
Koenig added that 70 years is an amazing achievement.
“I am very proud I had the opportunity to come down and meet some new ladies in Lacombe. It is great,” she said.