Fifteen members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary (LA) to Royal Canadian Legion Branch #113 in Ashcroft met for luncheon and reminiscences on April 12, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the granting of the organization’s charter in May 1947.
The LA is a non-profit organization that operates separately from the Canadian Legion. Ladies’ Auxiliaries evolved from the events of World War I, when women were asked to help with the recovery of wounded veterans returning home.
They did this by visiting hospitals, and by sending parcels to hospitalized soldiers and needy families, and the Ladies Auxiliary developed because of the hard work and support of these women, with branches springing up all across the country.
Today, the Ladies’ Auxiliary is a vital and integral part of the work of the Legion. Members of the LA are major contributors to the day-to-day life of Legion branches, providing financial and volunteer support for a wide variety of Legion programs and activities. There are 149 Legion branches in the B.C./Yukon Command, and 73 Ladies’ Auxiliaries.
Sharon Reid, the president of the Ashcroft Ladies’ Auxiliary, says that the group has helped pay for work at the Legion building, and also helped the branch purchase the piece of land at the corner of Brink Street and 2nd Street where the cenotaph now stands.
“There are lots of different things we do now,” she says. “We make cookies for when the Holiday Train comes to town, and do doughnuts and hot chocolate at the Legion on Remembrance Day.
“We donate to a variety of charities around Ashcroft, and each year we offer a $500 bursary to a graduating student at Desert Sands Community School.”
She says their main aim is to help the Legion if they need anything. “That’s what the Ladies’ Auxiliary is for; to help the Legion. If they need anything, we donate and go from there. We help with the dinners at the Legion, and if someone is sick we go visit them in hospital, and do what we can to help them.”
There are currently about 20 members of the Ashcroft LA. Reid says anyone is eligible to join, and does not have to be a member of the Legion. “The only requirements are that they are willing to help out, and that they respect the Legion.”
At the luncheon, which The Journal was kindly invited to join, there was a special celebratory cake, and pins were handed out to members who had been with the organization for five or more years.
Among the recipients were Marg Lomond, Loraine Shwaluk, and Marj Barron, each of whom received her 45-year pin.
(front row from left) Marg Lomond, Loraine Shwaluk, and Marj Barron, who have each been with the Ladies Auxiliary for 45 years.