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Preeceville Legion honours deserving students' hard work

Macy Balawyder and Ashley Scott, two students from Preeceville School recently received special awards in appreciation of their hard-work and entries in the Preeceville Legion Remembrance Day poster and essay contest.

PREECEVILLE - The Royal Canadian Legion, Preeceville #188 was formed and granted its charter on April 28, 1933. On April 28, 2023 the Preeceville Legion will celebrate 90 years of honouring the fallen, service to veterans and the community. The Legion is the longest-serving organization in Preeceville.

Each year, they sponsor a Remembrance Day poster and essay contest opened to all students from  Grades 1-12 at the Preeceville School. Legion members Blaine Medlang, Poppy Chairman and Bill Lesko, Legion president acknowledged two students for their excellent performance through their creative posters and essays that reached the Provincial level. The members were at the school on April 8 presenting the awards.

Macy Balawyder received a second place in the junior essay category at the Zone level. Ashley Scott received a first place in the black and white poster category at District level; first place at Zone level for the same poster and second place at the Provincial level for the same poster.

“Prizes range from certificates to $1,000 for first prize at Dominion level and first place senior winners are eligible for a trip to Ottawa to represent the Youth of Canada at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony,” stated Bill Lesko.

The Preeceville Legion began in March 1933, when a group of WW1 veterans decided Preeceville needed a Legion. They had their first meeting at the Kazakewich store. There were 23 members at the first meeting and dues were 50 cents per quarter. You had to be a war veteran to be a member. In 1934, the Legion was renting space in Stitz store and made the decision to purchase the building in 1935 for $500.

There was an affiliated ladies auxiliary formed in 1950. These ladies were a great help in assisting the Legion to raise funds. Also in 1950, the Legion agreed to purchase a WW2 training building from the Yorkton airbase. It was slowly moved across the prairie and in March 1952 it arrived in Preeceville.

Over the ensuing years the Preeceville Legion has had its ups and downs. In 1968 the management of the Legion Hall was turned over to the Lions Club. This arrangement lasted 10 years and in 1990 the management of the hall reverted back to the Legion. In 2000 the ladies auxiliary disbanded. The Legion Hall was turned over to the town in 2007.

Memberships slowly declined partially due to aging veterans. Now, anyone interested in the Legion is welcomed to join. Membership now is $400 yearly. Because of this change in membership requirements, the Preeceville Legion has had a renewed interest and energy.

There is still fighting going on in the world and Canada has a military and a role to play. There will always be veterans and veterans needing assistance. Someone fought for our freedom in order for us to live in that freedom. The Royal Canadian Legion is an extremely important institution and the need to advocate for veterans and lobbying governments for their rights and benefits is greater than ever. Veterans stood up for us when we needed them and we owe it to them to stand up for them in their time of need. Please consider joining your Legion, stated Lesko.