Tone of melan­choly

Aux­il­iary spends thou­sands of hours sup­port­ing P.E.I. vet­er­ans

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD

Gen­er­a­tions of women who've spent thou­sands of hours sup­port­ing P.E.I. vet­er­ans were rec­og­nized re­cently.

Mem­bers of the Ladies' Aux­il­iary of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch #1 in Char­lot­te­town were hon­oured dur­ing their an­nual tea, which may be the last one ever held in the build­ing.

The Char­lot­te­town Le­gion build­ing has been put up for sale, leav­ing the fu­ture of the group's home un­clear.

Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis thanked the women for work­ing on be­half and in sup­port of vet­er­ans.

He said there was an "un­for­tu­nate im­pli­ca­tion" in the word aux­il­iary, which has a literary def­i­ni­tion of be­ing an "add-on, ad­di­tional or sup­ple­men­tary."

"There is noth­ing sup­ple­men­tary about the Ladies' Aux­il­iary," said Lewis. "You, those be­fore you, and those since have been at the heart of re­spect, re­mem­brance and car­ing sup­port of the le­gion and vet­er­ans for a cen­tury.

"All of you across the gen­er­a­tions de­serve and have our heart­felt ap­pre­ci­a­tion."

While the event was a joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion meant to hon­our the many long-time mem­bers of the aux­il­iary, it also car­ried a tone of melan­choly.

Whether through work­ing the many ban­quets, rais­ing money or do­nat­ing time for events like Re­mem­brance Day or help­ing out at the New Years Levee, aux­il­iary mem­bers have put many hours into help­ing the com­mu­nity.

Pres­i­dent An­nie Bar­ratt said many mem­bers con­tinue with the group un­til they're un­able to.

"They stay with it right un­til the end. There are so many peo­ple here that do far more than what is called for," said Bar­ratt.

Mary Kick­ham, who has been a mem­ber for nine years, said more re­cent mem­bers like her­self have "had it made" com­pared to some of the long-time mem­bers.

"These peo­ple have been so ded­i­cated. They worked here when there wasn't a dish­washer and had to do it by hand, and when there wasn't an el­e­va­tor," said Kick­ham. "Con­di­tions were much more dif­fi­cult for them than they are for us to­day."

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