The Lacombe Legion Branch No. 79 is celebrating 90 years in the community in 2020.
Legion President Kathy Hobbs, who took part in a celebration at the branch with around 50 members and friends attending, said it is a pleasure to be able to be part of the community for so long.
“It was formed Jan. 1, 1930 and we have continued for 90 years serving the community — the seniors, the youth and most importantly the veterans. Our oath is to teach people about remembrance so do not forget the sacrifice,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs said the celebration was all about recognizing Lacombe veterans, who initially started the branch in 1930 with 15 members at the time. Today there is 321 Legion members.
“I have been with this branch for nine years and it comes and goes. We have been as high as 369 but we have lost quite a few,” Hobbs said.
Despite losing numbers, Hobbs said the branch is healthy and Lacombe is very supportive of the branch.
“It is all about serving and our belief that we should serve the community. The people of Lacombe are the most supportive bunch I have come across. That makes it easier,” she said.
Joyce Bradford, past president, said seeing the turnout for the celebration was exciting and said the health of the Lacombe Legion is in part to their campground on Gull Lake.
“We also have the campground down at the lake which helps us quite a bit financially. I think that is why other Legions are closing. They don’t have that extra finance,” she said.
Hobbs said the support for the Legion’s mission is obvious during the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.
“It is very impressive the numbers that come out for the Remembrance Day Ceremony,” she said, adding. “Our members and the people of the community support the Legion through our Monday Bingos, our Friday Night Suppers and our Meat Draws.
“We have a good turnout here today and people just come out. It is wonderful.”
Hobbs said the branch will continue to keep remembrance alive in the community.
“As we get further and further away from the major conflicts, it gets harder,” she said. “People today haven’t lived through it — the last conflict was Afghanistan and they are not quite ready to talk about everything to do with that war yet.
“It is harder for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to remember and that will be the future.”
Hobbs added the Legion is always looking for volunteers.
“Just call and leave your name at the Lounge, which is open Tuesday through Saturday. Anything they can do — we need bingo callers, we need people to help catering. People will be surprised what they can help with,” she said.
Glen Miller, past president, said volunteering with the Legion is part of serving the community.
“We do a lot of donations to the hospital and other charities. People don’t realize how much we give to the community every year. It is somewhere between $55,000 to $60,000 every year,” he said.
He encouraged others to come in and say hi at the Legion.
“They seem to think it is still an old boys club where people are not welcome. That isn’t true. Everyone is welcome and can come in for a visit. That is how you establish contacts in the community,” he said.
Hobbs added, “I am glad to see so many people here and in 10 more years we will be 100 and that is something we are all looking forward to.”