Jason Pankratz - Tillsonburg Legion
A few weeks ago the Tillsonburg Legion hosted the District B Convention. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make it a fantastic weekend. Many hours of preparation, on/off site work and cleanup were completed by wonderful volunteers from our Branch and the community. Thank you to Pat and Vince for their Friday meatloaf dinner. Thank you to Betty Davies, the Ladies Auxiliary and their team for a delectable roast beef dinner and our Air Cadets for serving and cleaning up. Thank you to those who set up and tore down the hall for the meals and convention. Thank you to Archie, Mike for Friday night and George for Saturday night music in the canteen!
Thank you to Laura who works tirelessly behind the scenes in so many different ways. Thank you to the Branch 153 members who were part of the convention weekend, whether it was selling tickets, registration, parade organization and other duties. Guests were impressed by our efforts, spirit and dedication to our Branch and the greater Legion community.
A special thanks must go out to our President, Dianne Hodges. She put in so many physical and emotional hours - in meetings, planning, consulting and delivering.
Another big thanks must go to Chris and the Tillsonburg News' coverage of the convention. We are astounded at the coverage that was given to the weekend. Tillsonburg was treated to several excellent articles and wonderful pictures of our members and the Sunday Convention Parade.
I had never taken part in a Legion convention before. Beyond the ceremonial and political aspects of the organization and its functions, I was amazed by two main factors. The first aspect was the inherent camaraderie that is shared by Legion members. It was great to see so many people greet each other with handshakes and hugs, as many had not seen each other since the last convention. I was jealous of this. I only knew people from our Branch, so everyone was new to me, and I was nervous. But by the end of the weekend you could see how gracious members of other Branches were to our members.
This group of like-minded people shared in their friendship and common ideals of Remembrance and advocating for our Veterans. But above all, they were just good, dedicated, fun and funny people. The Legion convention was a place to build and sustain these friendships. And I am excited, now that I have met new friends, to be a part of the next gathering.
I was also impressed by the size of the RCL’s Ontario geography, branches and membership. Our convention dealt with a number of different ‘zones’ which are made up of neighbouring municipalities combined into District B. Our District goes from Tillsonburg in the south, up to Tavistock in the north and as far east as Mississauga and Niagara Falls. It was fascinating to visit with people from different localities and discuss the triumphs and challenges that their Branches experience.
It is really neat being part of a group that advocates, fundraise and works for Veterans and their dependents. There were a handful of times during the convention when members reminded us that the changes and addendums to policy and practice are for the benefit of those who the Legion serves. Not to say that the Legion’s mandate of Remembrance, community service and the Poppy Campaign aren’t essential, it is its actions for Veteran's health and welfare, as well as their dependents, that is at the very root of the organization.
The Legion encompasses so many services. We don’t want our community to forget that. We are an active community organization that needs the actions of its community to stay relevant.
This month there will be no end of the month dinner. Instead, we’ll be having a dance on Friday, April 29 beginning at 7 p.m., featuring Wally Maggs. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the door. The Legion hasn’t had a dance in some time so make sure to come out to enjoy it and dance the night away.
Thanks again to all of those who believe in and support the services of our CRL Branch 153!