The year 1990 marked a special occasion for the Ponoka Legion and its members with the grand opening of their current building at the south end of Ponoka.
The group celebrated its 25th anniversary in the building Friday, Sept. 18 during their weekly dinner and meat draw with a full house attending and enjoying food from in-house caterer Bob Hepp and Company Catering.
Among the attendees were past branch presidents Hugh Greene (1962 and 1963) and Hal Kruger, who was president in 1982 and when the building opened in 1990. Greene gave a short history of the Ponoka branch stating the first members did not even have a hall to call their own in 1928. Members would meet in various locations around town before a building was constructed in the 1940s.
Greene came to Ponoka in 1958 and enjoyed being part of the legion membership. “I was fortunate enough to know some of the First World War vets.”
In the early 1960s, a kitchen was built onto the hall and later an extension. However, as the membership grew, the need for a bigger building also grew. Discussions over a location and plans were made and before the end of the 1980s action was taken.
“The sod was turned in the fall of 1989,” said Greene.
The official opening was September 1990.
For Krueger, the move brought happiness and sadness because of the many years of work conducted at the old building. Despite that, seeing such a large attendance on the anniversary, Kruger also felt pleased.
“It kind of makes me proud to see it. I guess I had a small part in creating this,” said Krueger.
Also speaking was current Ladies’ Auxiliary president, Marlene Ferguson, who said the ladies held many banquets in the hall over the years and they played a large part in the design and providing supplies to the kitchen.
Current Legion president Sybil Evans said she is also proud of the strong foundation Ponoka branch has. She added that the hope looking into the future is to continue advocating for the needs of Canada’s veterans.