Legion recognizes longtime members for decades of service

Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion member Marie Mathers (centre) poses for a photo with branch president Rick Hodgson (right) and vice-president Deanne Riese, (left) after receiving the Meritorious Service Award for her years of volunteer work. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The awards keep piling up for Prince Albert resident Marie Mathers.

In 2021, Mathers was honoured at Prince Albert’s Citizen of the Year. Then on Sept. 23, Mathers was recognized again, this time for her volunteer efforts at the Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion.

“It was just kind of unbelievable,” Mathers said following a ceremony at the Legion Hall. “I’d just been named Citizen (of the Year) for the City and then I get this, which I’d not expected.”

Mathers received the Meritorious Service Award for her years of volunteering at the Legion. She credited her parents for emphasizing the value of giving back to the community.

“When I was a young girl, my father taught me to be a volunteer,” she said. “At the age of six, I was a volunteer.”

The Meritorious Service Award was one of several honours handed out as the Legion closed out their inaugural Legion Week with a Pins and Awards Ceremony.

Mathers said it was a great way to not only recognize the people who volunteered for and supported the organization. It also helped show Prince Albert residents what regular people were capable of accomplishing if they put their minds to it.

The Legion made a few special presentations towards the end of the evening. Longtime members Mervin Miller (65 years), Ed Laird (60 years), and Denis Rivet (50 years) all received special commemorative pins, although Miller and Laird were unable to attend.

“It’s important to recognize people for the volunteering they do at the Legion,” said Deanne Riese, the membership chair and first vice-president for the Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion.

“I think that it goes to show how good of a place the legion is for comradeship, (and) to be there to help the veterans. The 60 and 65 and 50 year members are all ordinary members. That means they are veterans themselves, but they’ve dedicated their lives back to helping veterans as being part of the Legion.”

The Sept. 23 ceremony capped off a week of festivities as the Prince Albert Legion celebrated its inaugural Legion Week. The list of events included a monument unveiling, a volunteer appreciation night, and a celebration for the RCMP’s 150th anniversary.

Riese said they had a great turnout every day, and recruited plenty of new members.

“Some of them were excited to get their application in so they could attend tonight, and as you can see, it was a big turnout for the new members,” she said.

“That just goes to show that the Legion is a great place for volunteers, but it also is a great place for other organizations.”