By Jasmine Franklin
For the past 80 years, Ponoka’s Legion Ladies Auxiliary membership has remained active and always willing to lend a helping hand. This year they are asking for help in celebrating their 80th anniversary.
On May 29, the Ladies Auxiliary (LA) group of Ponoka is hosting an open house at the Royal Canadian Legion for the community to come celebrate their milestone with them. The event runs from 3 to 5 p.m. and cake and coffee will be available. The bar will also be open and present will be past presidents and LA dignitaries from across the province. Cake cutting will be at 3:30 p.m.
“These ladies absolutely amaze me with what they do,” said president Pat Myettnar. “People don’t realize how much it is we do.”
The ladies do everything from keeping the memory of veterans alive, organize funerals for legion members free of charge, cater to events including bridal fairs, fundraisers and community events and help keep money inside the community.
But one of the most truly special aspects of these ladies is the fact that they are the oldest and most active of 11 LA groups in the district.
“All year long we are active,” said Myttenar. “We try very hard to be involved in the community and help wherever we can.”
There are 61 members in the Ponoka Legion Ladies Auxiliary. The average age of the ladies is 82-years-old.
“They are always there to lend a helping hand — a majority of them you can phone if anything needs to be done and if they have free time, they will be there,” Myttenar said.
The LA group was originally launched in Ponoka in 1930. The purpose of the group is to keep alive the memory of fallen soldiers, and those still fighting.
“They fought for our freedom,” Myttenar said. “Some were left behind and some came back, but those who come back are never the same.”
The group caters throughout the year and hosts events such as the Valentine’s Day dance, St. Patrick’s Day pie and pint, and selling daffodils two weeks before Easter to raise money for funerals, educational scholarships, charitable organizations including the cancer fund and the LA group itself.
They also donate between $300 and $500 every year to the Ponoka Youth Centre’s after school program.
But the ladies aren’t just fundraisers — their companions for those in the hospital or Centennial Centre. Ill members often receive visit from LA members who also stop in the Centennial Centre to play bingo or visit with admitted patients. They are volunteers for Meals On wheels and most of all — they love each other’s company.
“We all have that common bond that connects us — veterans,” Myttenar said. “Some of these ladies have been involved with the group for 60 years; it’s just incredible watching them balance not only the LA life but all the other groups they are involved in.”
Myttenar said the group is looking for a younger membership to help with some of the activities as the average age of the group is climbing.
After 80 years, Myttenar is proud to belong to the Ponoka LA group and says she couldn’t work with a finer group of women.
“It is an honour and privilege for me to be able to lead these hard working ladies on their 80th anniversary,” Myttenar said.
Anyone in the community is welcome to the anniversary celebration.