Two women from Prince Albert were recently recognized for their service to the Navy League Saskatchewan at their Annual Conference and AGM held in Regina from Oct. 20-23.
Suzanne Bantle received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers and Rose Mineau received the Navy League of Canada Award of Appreciation.
Mineau was surprised to receive the recognition, which was for her work organizing the Navy League 75th Anniversary that was held in Prince Albert on Sept. 30.
“I don’t ever expect recognition for the things we do for the cadets,” Mineau said. “We do it for the kids, we do it for the community, we do it for the awareness of our program … and that was why we did the event in the first place. We wanted to celebrate the 75th and to bring our community together, and to build the youth in the community.”
Mineau said that event and the parade in Memorial Square offered a glimpse at what goes on every day in the Navy League. She said it was great, but challenging, to have so many young cadets in Prince Albert.
“Our community here is very small (and) to bring such a large event to our little community was overwhelming,” she said.
“It was amazing and it was an honour to represent the Navy League in such a capacity.”
The idea to host came from a meeting in October, 2022. Organizers noticed the 75th Anniversary was coming up and saw a way to connect it to the Prince Albert Corps being first established. After hearing Prince Albert was first, Mineau volunteered to serve as host.
“It grew and it was a good mission,” Mineau said.
The No. 5 Navy League Cadet Corps W.K. Reed served as host for more than 100 cadets, staff, and dignitaries. The weekend’s main event was an anniversary service at the Memorial Square.
Cadets along with representatives from the Prince Albert Indian and Metis Friendship Centre marched to the square before conducting a parade to celebrate the anniversary.
“When we were told that it was Truth and Reconciliation weekend as well, (and) a lot of people were concerned on infringing on the day,” Mineau explained. “We found a way to balance and to bring the communities together because this is us, this is our community. We all have goals, we all have missions, and I took that as a personal mission to make sure everybody was included.”
The event was also the only one of its kind to be hosted.
“It was an honour to be the first city in the country to hold such an event was my blowing,” Mineau said.
Bantle was recognized for more than four decades of giving back to her community with service clubs and youth and for her leadership and dedication for promoting the cadet program with The Navy League of Canada – Saskatchewan Division.
Bantle was surprised to hear she was getting the recognition from the Governor General’s Office in June. The decision was made to present it at the Navy League AGM.
Bantle said she does the work to give back to youth both in Prince Albert and around the province.
“I started off locally and it was just to work with the youth and mold them into better citizens for the city and for the province and for all of Canada,” she explained. “You never know where these young boys and girls will go and you can always say that you’re proud of them, what they’ve done, and what they’ve achieved.”
Bantle said she is approached often by former Navy League cadets who are working in various fields. She said they still show as adults the respect and discipline they were taught as young cadets.
“I always say you can tell the difference between kids that have gone through the cadet program compared to other kids,” she said. “The kids who have gone through the cadet program have a little bit more respect and they’re more disciplined and they’ve gotten something out of the program.”
Bantle said it was nice to see Mineay recognized by the Navy League for her work too.
“She’s done a lot of work for the Navy League organization here in Prince Albert and I’m very proud of her and she’s a very dedicated person,” Bantle said,
She said that Mineau sets very high expectations and manages to carry them out.
Both awards were presented by Chief Justice C.L. Norbeck, Count of Kings Bench.
“I just would like to say thank you for the opportunity to receive this award. It’s a great honour to receive the Governor General sovereign medal for volunteers. I wish that everybody could get it because everybody that volunteers is worth receiving an award of some sort,” Bantle said.