The Royal Canadian Legion’s Field Marshal Alexander Branch # 11 held an Installation Ceremony and a Lifetime Membership Ceremony at their general meeting on January 28.
Acting Sergeant at Arms, Barry Roth, presented each new and existing executive member to the podium; and Alberta/ North West Territories Command’s 1st Vice President, John Mahon, installed and awarded members.
The new Vermilion Legion executives are as follows: Jim Bristowe - Sergeant at Arms; Shirley Charchun – Secretary; Bruce Marriott – Treasurer; Wayne Freestone – Chairman; Gordon Hills – Service Officer; Aubrey Bell – Chaplain; Marlene Campbell, George Matechuk, Barry Roth, and Ed Mistal – Directors; Katherine Cooper - 2nd Vice President; Dale Pierce - 1st Vice President; Garry Zayac – President.
“Not often enough do we recognize the work that some of our members put in here,” said Comrade Wayne Freestone as he began the Lifetime Membership Ceremony to recognize outstanding members.
“While attending high school, Comrade Barry Roth was enlisted with the Vermilion Army Cadet Corps for three years, completing two summer camp courses in Manitoba and British Columbia. While working full-time, Comrade Barry Roth spent 23 years with the Armed Forces Reserves under the Civilian Instructors Cadre in training, supply, band officer at 1390 Red Deer Army Cadet Corps and later with 2645 Vermilion Army Cadet Corps until retiring as Commanding Officer in 2004.
An active member of Legion bands around the province, Comrade Roth formed the Lakeland Pipe & Drum Band in 1999. He goes out of his way to ensure that he makes himself available for all Veteran’s funerals, and since 2007, is the keeper of all historical Branch #11 artifacts. Comrade Roth has volunteered his own equipment and tools, and has put in thousands of hours over the years into building display cases that preserve badges, photos, documents, and uniforms along with writing what each piece is and who it belonged to. With the help of the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation, he has also created a library of memorials of fallen comrades for Branch #11,” said Chairman Wayne Freestone.
Roth has volunteered to pipe for legions around the region, as well as at schools for their Remembrance Day Ceremonies. He has been a member of the Vermilion Legion Branch #11 for 35 years, was the Sergeant at Arms in 2007, and volunteers every year for the annual poppy drive. Comrade Roth humbly accepted his lifetime membership from AB/ NWT Command 1st Vice President, John Mahon.
Comrade Garry Zayac joined the Vermilion Legion in 2005 as an affiliate non-voting, and became membership chairman in the fall of 2006. In 2007 he was approved for affiliate voting, and he still holds the position of membership chairman today. From 2011 - 2013, he was voted 1st Vice President, in 2014 was voted President, and 2015 Past President. In 2016, he was voted back in as President, and remains President of Branch # 11 today.
“Since joining our branch, Comrade Garry Zayac has gone above and beyond the duty of a Legion member, executive member, and President. His devoted dedication for the Royal Canadian Legion is truly an honour and outstanding accomplishment for Field Marshal Alexander Branch #11. For the past 15 years, Comrade Zayac has maintained the branch’s barbeques by replacing parts, and cleaning on a weekly basis throughout the year. Each week he puts in 6 – 8 hours, which on average is 400 hours per year. He also volunteers working the bar, at banquets, and repairs and maintains all equipment and furniture. He has made numerous trips to Edmonton and Lloydminster to pick up parts or groceries. On average, the executive of Branch #11 estimate that Comrade Zayac’s volunteer hours are well over 1,000 year after year.
Comrade Zayac goes out of his way to ensure that when help is needed by our Veterans, he will always be the first there. He has assisted in transporting Veterans from the now closed Mannville Legion to the Vermilion Branch, and has overhauled and re-built bathrooms to accommodate Veterans with disabilities. For years as President, he has always attended District Rallies in the spring and fall, and attended the AB/NWT Convention, as well as visits most all Legions in the district. In addition, he is one of the few members who can always be counted on to help with Remembrance,” said Treasurer, Bruce Marriott.
AB/ NWT Command 1st Vice President, John Mahon went on to present President, Garry Zayac with a lifetime membership.
1st Vice President Mahon went on to say, “F.M. Alexander Branch is doing outstanding, and it’s because of people like Barry and Garry.”
Following the presentations, Poppy Fund donations were made including $2,000 to the Vermilion Army Cadets, $1,000 to the AB/NWT Command Bursary Fund, and $1,000 to the AB/NWT Command Service Bureau.