Community

Ponoka's Fort Ostell IODE Chapter dedicated to our community for 87 years

Members of the Fort Ostell Chapter of the IODE are shown here celebrating the 75th anniversary of the long-standing Ponoka ladies organization, which proudly served the town and county for 87 years. Shown in the back row from left to right are: Eleanor Tangjerd, Pat Webber, unknown, Sylvia Corkery, Vi Ogilvie, Sandy Allsopp, Susan, and Mary Jones; and then seated in the front is: name missing, Dorothy Ungstad, Barb Noel, Jean Martin, and Rita Petersen. - Photo submitted
Members of the Fort Ostell Chapter of the IODE are shown here celebrating the 75th anniversary of the long-standing Ponoka ladies organization, which proudly served the town and county for 87 years. Shown in the back row from left to right are: Eleanor Tangjerd, Pat Webber, unknown, Sylvia Corkery, Vi Ogilvie, Sandy Allsopp, Susan, and Mary Jones; and then seated in the front is: name missing, Dorothy Ungstad, Barb Noel, Jean Martin, and Rita Petersen.
— image credit: Photo submitted

By Mike Rainone and Sandy Allsopp for the News

After 87 very active years of dedicated service and support to the residents of the Town and County of Ponoka the Fort Ostell Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire have disbanded.

The Ponoka Chapter was founded in 1929 with 40 members, and through eight exciting decades in and around our growing community hundreds of ladies of all ages and walks of life worked tirelessly to raise funds to aid the urban and rural children and adults in so many vital ways, as well as always following the lofty goals and projects of their National Women’s organization.

The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire was formed in 1900 by Margaret Polson Murray of Montreal, who recognized an immediate need for the strong and loyal support for our Canadians who were departing to fight with the Empire Forces in South Africa. She passionately encouraged the formation of a Federation of Women to promote ongoing patriotism, loyalty, and service to others by sending telegrams to the Mayors across the nation urging them to call together the women of the community to support this cause.

Over the years the response to the request was absolutely overwhelming, and by the mid-1900s there were over 3,000 members across Canada in 200 Chapters, as well as the formation of many Junior Chapters, both growing at a steady pace.

As well as serving their local Chapters in the early years, the ladies of the I.O.D.E. also promoted and supported the vital countless events and projects of the National Organization of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire. Some of the amazing milestone successes across the nation included: establishing the Rose Day Child Welfare Project; providing homes for mentally deficient children; and organizing fundraising efforts through thousands of volunteer hours that would provide multi-millions of dollars that would result in the purchase of hospitals, hospital ships, ambulances, aircraft, equipment, and field comforts for our Canadian Service personnel throughout the world.

Through the war years and beyond the ongoing services of the IODE also featured taking training courses to assist the victims of Canadian tragedies such as Hurricane Hazel (1954) and the 1965 Springfield, N.S. Mine disaster; as well as supplying hearing aids and monitoring to Northern Schools; presenting Literature, Music, and Scholarship Awards to thousands of school students; and so much more care and heartfelt support for so many, long into our future.

The proud history of our Fort Ostell Chapter

When 10 enthusiastic local ladies sat down together in the upstairs meeting room of the first Ponoka Town Hall on March 10, 1929 it would mark the humble beginnings of our local Fort Ostell Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire. Over a colourful and exciting span of 87 years our very active I.O.D.E. organization would host hundreds of women from Ponoka Town and County, whose ongoing and energetic goals included countless projects and volunteer efforts in support and care of the needs of the children and many other aspects of our friendly and fast growing community.

Along the way they have provided hundreds of scholarships, bursaries, and awards to help encourage and further the education opportunities of several generations of local High School students, as well as kindly supplying hundreds of Elementary School children with library cards, book prizes, and those magnificent photos of our King and Queen, which proudly hung at the front of classrooms.

One of the biggest achievements of the group came in 1933 with the opening our first official community library at the Community Rest Room on 51st Avenue, a project that was so popular that it had to be moved to a larger room in the Town Hall in 1937, where in only two short years there would be over 2,000 delightful books for children to adults on the jam-packed shelves.

By 1949 Ponoka would proudly claim that they indeed had ‘the best small town library in the Province,’ where the Fort Ostell I.O.D.E. Chapter members really enjoyed volunteering and greeting thousands of ‘ardent readers’ for many years. In 1956 they were graciously rewarded for their ongoing dedication to reading and literature when the spacious new Ponoka Jubilee Library building was completed, and then the first formal Library Board was appointed to oversee the facility, which continues to serve the community to this day.

Other exciting highlights of the longstanding support and legacy provided by the spirited Fort Ostell Chapter have included: the sponsorship of the Annual Ponoka I.O.D.E. Flower Show from 1939 until 1949 when the Ponoka Horticultural Society was formed; extensive assistance to the war effort in the 1940s; hosted an annual Christmas Craft Fair for over 35 years; and for many years really looked forward to preparing and serving lunch to the bands and dignitaries participating in our annual Ponoka Stampede Parade. In 1968 the I.O.D.E. Ladies were very actively promoting the exciting cause that would help to create our Fort Ostell Museum, and then in the most recent years their efforts continued to highlight and reward our vital community education programs, as well as several different projects at the Ponoka Youth Centre.

When the final decision was made in 2016 to disband the historical Fort Ostell Chapter of the Imperial Daughters of the Empire, the nine active members included: Sylvia Corkery, Sandy Allsopp, Judy Davidson. Nellie Finnell, Nienke Palsma, Else Pedersen, Eleanor Tangjerd, Mary Jones, and Vi Ogilvie.

Like all the dedicated members who came before them over the past 87 years they will always carry many fond memories of the keen camaraderie that they have all enjoyed together within the Fort Ostell I.O.D.E. Chapter, as well as the glorious legacy of kindness and support that they have very proudly provided to so many people and special causes in and around the Town and County of Ponoka.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Community Events, May 2017

Add an Event