The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 40 Springdale, honoured nine of their long time service members with pins thanking them for their commitment to the organization this week. Newfoundland’s RCL Provincial President Aiden Crewe was present at the Springdale Legion on Sunday to present the pins personally. He opened by saying what an honour it was to be in the same room with members representing 255 years of combined service to the Royal Canadian Legion and he brought with him many thanks and blessings from Provincial Command.
Amongst the recipients were Springdale Branches own President, Dianne Crompton who celebrates 15 years of service, along with Joyce Bartlett and Winston Thomas. Receiving 25 year pins were Frank Fudge, Kerry Wellman, Sergeant at Arms and Lorna Rice. Roy Normore received recognition for 30 years of service and Rev. George Gard, Branch 40 Chaplan has 40 years to be proud of.
Last but certainly not least, was Herb Pike who was presented with a 65 year service pin. Herb very proudly accepted his pin and spoke afterwards about his long standing membership.
Herb is 89 years old and served in WWII as both a gunner and a pilot with the Royal Air Force. He is very proud of his accomplishments and thoroughly enjoys his involvement with the Legion and still remains active with its community service. He feels that keeping active and involved keeps him young.
The Royal Canadian Legion as a whole has many milestones to be proud of and since its inception in 1926 it has become the largest veterans and community service organization with approximately 350,000 members and 1500 branches across Canada. However due to aging rural communities and aging veterans, some branches are struggling to stay alive. Others are doing well with their recruiting programs and bringing in new members, especially with the return of our troops from Afghanistan, but certainly not to the same magnitude has it was in the years following WWI and WWII. Aiden Crewe’s own home Branch of Woody Point has been successful in recruiting 100 new members over the last 4 years and Springdale branch, even though struggling for a while, has of late brought their membership level back from 43 to 50.
One thing that has not changed over the years is the commitment of the organization and its members to the remembrance of those who gave their lives for peace and freedom and helping the needy veterans, ex-service members and their families. It is so refreshing to see such pride and loyalty to a worthy cause. Even though it has become a struggle for some of the smaller communities, the members are very dedicated and optimistic that the organization is and will remain strong. Members are bringing in family members and friends and the organization as a whole is working diligently in recruiting new members.