Longtime Legion members grateful and humbled to receive Queen’s Jubilee Medals

From left to right, Deputy District Commander Colin Riese, Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion President Rick Hodgson, longtime member Brenda Cripps, and Zone 3 Commander Tracy Lubyk pose for a photo following the presentation of their Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medals. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

They weren’t looking for recognition when they signed up, but two long-serving Prince Albert members of the Royal Canadian Legion received it on Wednesday.

Legion president Rick Hodgson and 53-year member Brenda Cripps were recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal at the Legion Hall on Wednesday. Both recipients said they were surprised, but grateful, to receive the award.

“I’ve heard of these medals going around and I didn’t think I’d ever get one for the things that I do, but it is really nice to accept it,” said Hodgson, who has been a legion member for more than 40 years, the last eight as president. “It’s a big honour to have that.”

“We’re here as Legion members and volunteers. We do it because we want to be here, but it’s nice to be recognized for something like this, especially when it’s totally unexpected,” Cripps added. “It means a lot. It really does.”

Zone 3 Commander Tracy Lubyk and Deputy District Commander Colin Riese presented Hodgson and Crips with their medals prior to a Legion meeting. Hodgson said many worthy Prince Albert residents have received the award, and he flattered to be among them.

“It is nice for people to get recognized, and with medals like this here, it really makes them appreciate what they do a lot more,” he said. “They’re not doing it for their own appreciation, but you see people appreciate what you really do, and what you do for your community.”

Cripps and Hodgson both followed a family tradition in joining the Legion. Both of their fathers were members before they were, and Cripps sister also joined.

Cripps became a member after serving in the Reserves. She said joined the Legion at the same time as her father, and has never regretted it.

“He said, ‘if you join, you’re going to work,’” Cripps said with a laugh. “That was 53 years ago, and I’ve been working ever since. It means a lot to me with everything going on.”

Cripps has been involved in number of roles, but her biggest was spearheading efforts to have new war monuments installed in Memorial Square to recognize veterans who served in the Canadian Forces, but did not fight in the First or Second World War. The list includes Korean War, Afghanistan, and peacekeeping veterans, as well as those who served when Canada was not at war or involved in peacekeeping.

Cripps said she spearheaded the efforts because so many people didn’t know about the role Canada’s veterans played outside the two world wars.  She said it’s encouraging to have the monuments up in public, and to be recognized for her efforts.

“We’re not in it for the recognition, but it is nice to somewhere down the line receive something like this,” she said. “It means a lot.”