Little Current Legion elects a new executive, saves branch from closure

The new executive of Little Current Royal Canadian Legion Branch 177 pose with Legion officials following the emergency election meeting. Back row are Paul Abbott, Brad Barnes, Tom Stephens, Jack Omnet, Zone Commander Fred Medynski and Gord Keatley and front row, Bob Smith, Tari Smith, Wayne Golden President Luc Noel, Florence Hubert, Georgina Lovelace, Debbie Menard and District H Commander Gerry Ferguson.

LITTLE CURRENT—Branch #177, the Little Current branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, will carry on with a new president and executive.

A front-page story in the December 10 edition of this paper had highlighted the fact that the Legion was minus a working executive and thus had become susceptible to being taken over by Ontario’s Legion Command and its charter revoked.

This particular threat, however, is behind the Island’s oldest branch following last Thursday’s well-attended emergency meeting to which all members of Branch #177 had been formally invited.

The emergency meeting, chaired by Gerry Ferguson, District H commander, assisted by Fred Medynski, zone commander, saw 49 members report, ready to vote and volunteer themselves for the health of the institution.

The meeting began with nominations for president for Luc Noel, Debbie Menard (both former presidents) and Tari Smith. Comrade Smith declined the nomination.

Comrades Noel and Menard were given the opportunity to speak with both addressing members.

Comrade Noel explained that he did resign from his post as Legion president two-and-a-half years ago due to family obligations and the prospect of life as an entrepreneur but he is now ready to return his attention to the Legion.

“If anybody knows me, I’ve devoted my life to helping the Legion and I’m back,” he said.

Comrade Menard said, “I believe in our mandate, our presence in Canada and what it stands for.” She noted that next year marks the Little Current branch’s 85th year and its importance to the community.

Through secret ballot, Comrade Noel was elected as president.

Before continuing with the election of officers, Comrade Ferguson spoke of the good turnout for the meeting, including youthful members, saying he felt there was no danger of the branch closing with that kind of response.

Debbie Menard, Tari Smith, Wayne Golden and Peewee Oliver were nominated for the position of First Vice President with Tari Smith declining. Wayne Golden was elected.

Tari Smith and Debbie Menard were nominated to fill the position of Second Vice President with Debbie Menard taking the job through a vote.

Third Vice President will remain Georgina Lovelace with the positions of sergeant-at-arms and service officer also continuing to be held by, respectively, Bob Smith and Wayne Golden.

There was some discussion and confusion over the executive positions with the membership learning that employees of the Legion cannot hold a position on the board. Standing executive members are Florence Hubert and Jack Omnet with new members Gord Keatley, Paul Abbott, Gary Trimmer, Brad Barnes and Tom Stephens joining the table.

The positions for secretary and treasurer are not yet filled.

A misunderstanding about who could serve in the treasurer’s role saw a frustrated Branch #177 50-year member, Jeff Marshall, asked to leave the meeting by the zone commander. Comrade Marshall did so, but his long-time contribution to the branch was acknowledged by a spontaneous and thunderous round of applause.

Following Comrade Marshall’s exit, District H Commander Ferguson eventually gave a possible workaround solution to the issue Comrade Marshall had wished to be clarified, namely that while a paid employee of the branch could not hold any executive post, in fact some person could serve (in this case as treasurer) in name only and that a person also employed by the branch could agree to do the actual work of the treasurer, submitting reports to the “official” executive member to be presented to the board.

The meeting ended with the official swearing in of the Legion officials and executive who will be in office until March 2015.