Longtime Legion member Laird recognized with Quilt of Valour

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Brenda Cripps, Ed Laird and Colin Reise. Longtime Prince Albert Legion member Ed Laird was presented with a Quilt of Valour at the Legion on Friday evening.

The Prince Albert Legion recognized former longtime President Ed Laird with a special quilt during the Legion’s annual Pin and Awards Ceremony on Friday night.

The 99-year-old Laird was pleased to receive the quilt from the Legion.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Laird said. “All of these years I didn’t do nothing here (and) I am getting an award. It’s pretty beautiful. It’s a beautiful quilt.”

Brenda Cripps, Provincial Zone Commander and Service Officer for the Prince Albert Branch No. 2 and Deputy District Commander Colin Reise presented the Quilts of Valour to Laird.

“A quilt of valour, it’s a hug from a very grateful nation, being us and a tribute to an injured Canadian Armed Forces member past or present or anybody that served in the Canadian Armed Forces,” Cripps said.

Michel Langlois also received a quilt. Langlois served as a peacekeeper in Germany.

They reported to the Sergeant at Arms before being presented the quilts.

“Though we may not know the depth of your sacrifice to protect and defend our freedom we thank you and as a gesture of our gratitude from a grateful nation we present you with this Quilt of Valour that you can wrap around your shoulders,” Cripps said.

The quilts are made by Quilts of Valour-Canada Society. Their mission as a Society is to ensure that all Canadian military members, past and present who are ill or injured as a result of their service and sacrifice to our country, are recognized and honoured with a Quilt of Valour.

“These quilts are made by a couple of ladies and they donate them to all of our veterans,” Cripps said.

The need for quilts continues to grow.  At present, there are approximately 185,000 Veterans, many of whom are eligible to receive a Quilt of Valour.  To date they have presented more than 18,000 quilts. Each one a handmade hug, stitched with love and gratitude by grateful Canadians.

Laird has been with the Prince Albert Legion for over 60 years and is still humble.

“It’s been good,” he said. “I spent a lot of years with the Legion all right. I was president of the Legion when we opened this building.

“I was president for eight terms, I had to turn it over because it was too much for one guy. I had eight terms as president here, when we opened this building,”

During the Second World War, Laird served in England, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Laird said it was nice to be part of the featured event of the evening. He added that it was important to have the Legion so Canadians don’t forget about the sacrifice their veterans made.

“If they don’t know about it, they don’t show the respect for the Legion,” he said. “It’s a good strong organization.”

Laird said that the Prince Albert Legion is in good hands with current leadership.

“I can’t do much anymore but I do watch it,” he said.

Laird turns 100-years-old on May 5, 2023 and still remembers one special birthday while he was in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“On my 22nd birthday I was in signal control for second division artillery and I sent the message to cease fire on my birthday. It was on May 5 that they sent the order and it was May 8 before they turned in their rifles. I was the signal man at that time,” he said.

This all happened while he was stationed in Holland.

“They were tough times but I enjoyed it and had great friends,” Laird said.

The evening was emceed by Legion President Rick Hodgson. The Pin & Award Ceremony is a recognition night for members to receive their yearly pins (from 1 Year in increments of 5 years), and also to present local businesses and friends of the Legion with awards for sponsorships, donations, volunteering and other things.