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Delia Legion closes its doors after 81 years

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    Royal Canadian Legion branch 61, in Delia has closed its doors after 81 years.
    According to former Legion president Darryl Morlock, "due to low resident membership, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 61 will surrender its charter at the end of November 2009."
    The Legion has enjoyed a long history in the community.
    A charter was issued and granted to the Delia branch on March 21, 1928. During the summer of 1928 the branch decided that due to its financial state it would be forced to sell its club rooms.
    The thirties were to affect the branch as they did all people of the district. After the hotel was sold meetings were held in various places, Spring Water School, Delia Town Hall, the agricultural building and Coates Hall. A small building next door to Dr. Netherton’s on main street was at one time used as a club room for the rent of $8 a year.
    The first Armistice Day service was held on the Sunday previous to November 11 in the year 1930. The service has become a tradition of the branch and was held each year. In conjunction with Remembrance Day, as it is now called, Poppy Day is held on the previous Saturday.
    The subject of the erection of a memorial was discussed at a general meeting in April, 1935, the location to be on the north side of the village. Before the summer had passed the project was completed. The cairn was built by the late John Nelson assisted by W. Demott. A plaque with the names of the men of the Delia District who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War 1 was placed on the eastern face of the cairn.
    In 1950, an agreement for sale was arranged for the old Co-op store for the sum of $2,500. The Legion finally had a home. For the purchase of the building many members made donations. A rather special donation was received from the ex victory loan group of salesmen, who had set aside their commissions on the sale of bonds and donated the amount to the building fund.
    In the summer of 1948 the branch placed another plaque on the cenotaph. This is affixed on the south face of the cairn, and upon it is inscribed the names of the men who didn’t return from World War 2.
    In November 1961, her majesty Queen Elizabeth ll by proclamation granted the Legion a change of name. They became the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch no 61, Delia.
    Over the years the branch became less and less active. Ordinary members were becoming fewer and far between as age gradually thinning the ranks.
    The Legion did not exist to perpetuate the memory of war, but it did exist to perpetuate the memory of those who served, and who paid the supreme sacrifice. Also, its obligation is to those who were wounded and thus deprived of living a normal life, and to dependants of these men and women.
    Like many other small town Legions, Delia faced the problem of not enough local members. They had only 23 members with only 7 members being local to Delia.
    Due to low resident membership, Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 61, Delia will surrender their charter at the end of November, 2009.
    Legion and Ladies Auxiliary plaques, flags and various other items will be donated to the Delia Museum.
    It is hoped that when a Legion fulfills its last obligation to the veteran and his dependants, that it, too, like the old soldier, “shall not die but simply fade away”.

Paint the town red for Olympic Torch Celebrations

 

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    Downtown Drumheller is ready to paint the town red in preparation for the Olympic Torch arrival.
    This week the Drumheller Olympic Torch Relay Celebration committee announced tickets for the event on January 16 will be available as soon as Saturday, November 28 at Freson IGA. This is gearing up to be a fantastic opportunity, as will the events planned for the Friday evening leading up to the event in downtown Drumheller.
    Tara Semchuk of Downtown Drumheller is excited for the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Olympics. She would say it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but she was in Calgary during the 1988 Olympics and volunteered.
    “Until you experience it, you don’t really know how big it is,” she says. “It builds community.”
     When she says they are painting downtown red, she is being literal.
    This coming week she will be going around to various businesses in the core. They are planning to ask local merchants to decorate their window fronts in red to coincide with the red mittens, which are becoming an iconic symbol of the 2010 games.
    The Friday before the arrival of the torch, Centre Street, between Railway Avenue and 3rd Avenue will be blocked for a street party. This will include the most Canadian of all Canadian Activities, a street hockey game. The Drumheller Floor Hockey League will be on the tarmac to play in the match.
    They are also planning a snowman building contest, music, burning barrels and hot chocolate.
    All things sports will be celebrated. The Valley Figure Skating Club and Drumheller Minor Hockey will  be busy at the arena, and  people can also pop into the Drumheller Curling rink to see some on-ice action.
     Semchuk says she hopes downtown merchants will participate  in the big red day with some big red sales, and stay open until 7:30p.m. That is because at 8 p.m. there will be fireworks. After you are done taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Drumheller, head down to  Centennial Park behind Drumheller Memorial Arena, the perfect area to watch the fire works.        All if this will be a stellar way to get ready for Saturday’s Olympic Torch Relay Celebration at the Canadian Badlands Passion Play Site.
    Tickets for the event are free, but there is only a limited number. The committee will begin distributing the tickets  on Saturday, November 28 at Freson IGA. They will continue on Saturday, December 5 at Extra Foods in Drumheller and at the Hanna Mall. On Saturday, December 12 they will be at Greentree Mall distributing tickets. Times are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kettle Campaign kicks off

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Linda McGraw, left, joins Lieutenant Matt Sheils to kick off The Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign at last Friday's Drumheller Dragons home game against the Calgary Canucks. Sheils dropped the puck for the action and McGraw played the National Anthem for fans. The kettles are out and The Salvation Army could always use more volunteers to man the kettles over the holiday season. For more information contact The Salvation Army Church at 403-823-2215.


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