| Apr 09, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 9, 2009 Honours and awards dished out at Legion dinnerby Julie Druker

Patricia Middleton, Marlene Beattie, Helene Riddell and Dave Whalen

It was during the Sharbot Lake Legion’s second biggest event of the year, their annual Honours and Awards Dinner, that members at Branch 425 had a chance to hand out awards recognizing their comrades (plus one special non-member) for dedicated service.

Guests and members feasted on a delicious roast beef dinner cooked up by well-known cook and Legion member Tim Cota of Parham. After supper guest speaker Deputy District G Commander Ron Goodwin from Russell, Ontario, addressed the dinner guests and focused on the importance of the work that members perform in the community.

He credited their Meals on Wheels service and their bursary program, which awards graduating students from Sharbot Lake High School. He highlighted the ongoing fundraising the Legion does throughout the year, specifically raffles, bingos and dinners that support such national charities as Easter Seals, Cancer, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Legion members Dave Whalen of Parham and Colleen Riddell of Sharbot Lake both received the Volunteer of the Year Award. This award was presented by Marlene Beattie, wife of the late Ken Beattie, in whose memory the award is named.

Many members received their year pins; associate member John Jarvis and member Vern Crawford of Sharbot Lake each received a 30-year pin. Vern Crawford, who joined the Legion first in Ottawa, then Perth and finally in Sharbot Lake, has acted as treasurer for three terms, has run the poppy fund for years and is also involved with the Meals on Wheels service. He expressed his gratitude: “I’m very proud to receive it and feel as though I have really accomplished something".

The Friendship Award was the final award presented and it went to Mayor Janet Gutowski for her help with the Legion’s successful application for a $63,000 Trillium grant.

Legion President Patricia Middleton and Honours and Awards Chair Tyrone Seeley explained that it is the first time the award has been given out in the Legion’s 63-year history. President Middleton said, “The award can go only to a non-member and this is the first time that a non-Legion member has made such a substantial effort”.

Seeley said that a grant application had been attempted the year before but was left incomplete when the process became overwhelming. The mayor, knowledgeable with the process, offered to step in and assist with the application.

The Legion received the grant in August 2008 and it has been used to renovate the hall. Since September, with the addition of a ramp and washrooms, the hall is now wheelchair accessible. The renovation included new insulation, siding, a new floor, plus new doors and windows. The renovation will be completed by mid-April and President Middleton is looking forward to a grand opening slated to happen sometime this summer.

Mayor Gutowski was surprised, honoured and visibly moved by the award. Her grandfather was a career soldier and her mother, father, and father-in-law, as well as her husbanc, were all Legion members.

“I have a number of recognition awards of my dad’s in my home,so this can go right along beside those”.

She added, “I was just glad to be a part of it (the grant) and the Legion is one of the strongest service clubs in our community. They do so much and they really deserved it”. 

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