A member of the Royal Canadian Legion Ponoka Branch #66 has been bestowed the highest award one can earn within the organization, the Meritorious Service Award.
Gladys Davenport stood in front of a room full of her comrades and community members as she held back tears while accepting the award pin, certificate and wallet card branding her a recipient of the prestigious title.
“I just want to say I’m so humbled by this award,” said Davenport.
She’s spent most of her life volunteering her time in one capacity or another, but has never looked back at the time spent. “I work for the Legion because I want to, and I like it, and I like the people I work with.”
Past president Stan Orlesky took to the podium to shower Davenport with a recount of her years spent selflessly helping others.
Davenport was nominated for the award at an executive meeting of the Ponoka Legion, July 8, 2014. “Comrade Davenport is most worthy of this nomination,” said Orlesky.
Davenport first began her involvement with Royal Canadian Legion activities at seven years old while helping her parents sell poppies for Remembrance Day.
The Meritorious Service Award takes into account a nominee’s impact both inside and out of their Legion duties and members of the Ponoka Legion could easily see how much effort Davenport put into the people and activities of her life, as well the Legion’s legacy.
“Gladie joined the Ladies Auxiliary in 1958 as an active member and holding every executive position within the Auxiliary,” said Orlesky.
In 2003, Davenport was elected president and she set about making changes to improve customer service and the “bottom line for the Branch.”
Davenport has also become a pillar member of the community in schools. “Since 2007, Gladie has taken on the responsibility for the Remembrance Day poster and literary contest, a responsibility that is not taken lightly,” said Orlesky.
She also travels to the Maskwacis community schools and has become ingrained in her duties there.
“Gladie works very hard outside of the Legion,” said Orlesky.
In 2004, she shaved her head twice for cancer research and in 2009 took a young Sri Lankan immigrant under her wing, helping him establish a new life in Canada.