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Home News Prince Albert vet celebrates 100th birthday by donating medals to PA museum

Prince Albert vet celebrates 100th birthday by donating medals to PA museum

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Prince Albert vet celebrates 100th birthday by donating medals to PA museum
Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Fred Payton and Ed Laird pose with his medals and jacket which he presented to the Prince Albert Historical Society during his 100th birthday celebration at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Saturday.

Prince Albert resident Ed Laird is used to receiving gifts on his birthday, but after turning 100 on May 5, he decided to give a gift instead.

Laird celebrated his 100th birthday at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on May 7, two days after turning 100, with friends, family, and acquaintances. As a final act for his birthday, Laird, a Second World War vet who served with the Canadian forces during the Italian campaign, presented his coat and medals to the Prince Albert Historical Society for display.

“They are much better there than hanging on the dresser at home,” Laird said. “I’m proud of them. I have got a lot.”

Laird’s daughter, Gerri-Lynn Sauer, acted as emcee for the afternoon. She said the family talked about the issue for a long time before making a decision.

“With dad’s permission, we thought long and hard about his medals and what they mean to us and the Legion and to this community,” she said during the ceremony. “Today, on behalf of Dad and the Laird family, Dad’s jacket and his medals are going to be left here at the Museum for many people to enjoy for many years. Thank you, Dad, for that generous offer and we hope that you can be back to the Museum over the years and bring your grandchildren and see this wonderful place.”

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Ed Laird received Veteran’s Honours in which he had 100 Poppies pinned on a sash during his 100th birthday celebration at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Saturday.

Laird took off his coat and medals and presented them to Prince Albert Historical Society president Fred Payton. The medals and jacket were then placed on a mannequin, which Laird and his family posed with afterwards.

“Thank you very much, what a generous offer and greatly appreciated and we hope you will come back many times to have a look at the mannequin,” Payton said.

The birthday party was organized by Laird’s son, Grant, and other family members. He said the whole day was overwhelming.

“It’s been exciting, all of it,” Laird said. “I never expected something like this.”

Laird said everybody that could do something did do something to recognize his milestone. That included the Prince Albert Historical Society, who presented Laird with an honorary life membership for his contributions.

Brenda Cripps of the Prince Albert Legion bestowed Laird with Veteran’s Honours, which are usually reserved for a veteran who has passed away. Cripps received permission from Legion head office in Regina to recognize Laird.

“Veteran’s Honours, giving me thanks for something I did 70 years ago,” Laird said.

Laird was born on May 5, 1923. He said some of his best memories were from childhood on the family farm in Mayview, just west of Christopher Lake.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Ed Laird talks with one of his great granddaughters before his 100th birthday celebration at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Saturday.

“When I was young, when I was still on the farm living in the bush, I was so happy there,” Laird said.

“I loved the animals, and it was beautiful.

“You never had any money worries; you didn’t need money to be happy. You just had friends,” he added.

Laird acknowledged his many friends in attendance. He said he’s lead a good life, but said he had plenty of help from friends and family along the way.

Saturday’s celebration coincided with the day that he was released from his war service. To honour that day, attendees pinned 100 poppies to a sash as Laird sat. The pinning began with his great grandchildren and grandchildren. Laird has been a member of the Prince Albert Legion for 77 years.

Throughout the day, music from Laird’s youth played in the Museum.

In front of the Museum was the sign that will be on Edwin Laird Park on Muzzy Drive.

Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave presented Laird with a Certificate of Recognition from the Province and Premier Scott Moe on his 100th birthday. Councillor Orest Romanchuk from the RM of Buckland presented Laird with a commemorative pin and a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of the RM. He also received a Certificate of Recognition by the Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan.

Laird was thankful for the celebration.

“I just want to thank everybody for everything you have done to make for a happy 100 years, that’s big,” he said.

Editor’s Note: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Laird was the last surviving Second World War veteran in Northern Saskatchewan. This sentence has been removed because there is at least one other Second World War vet currently living in Prince Albert. The Daily Herald apologizes for the error.