The Estevan Royal Canadian Legion recognized the long-time service of many of its members during the annual Vimy Night awards banquet on April 5.
Individuals who have lengthy service with the Legion were presented with pins, starting at 15 years. This year's pin recipients were:
*Fifteen years: Donald Anderson, Craig Bird, Rodney Sands and Leigh Ann Tessier.
*Twenty years: Theresa Bachorcik, Doreen Bachorcik, Beatrice Lukye, Walter Lukye, John Len and Eileen Rosner.
*Twenty-five years: Lillian Hahn, Wayne Hoste and Madeline Skjerpen.
*Thirty years: Richard Marcotte, Art Matte, Margaret Renwick and David Rooks.
*Thirty-five years: Ken Clarke, Murray Fowler, Marion Harper, Martha Lyon and JA Nijman.
*Forty years: Rick Densley, Sandra McGillicky and Lorne Walliser.
Clarke was also presented with a branch service award for his many years of dedication to the Legion. He was the Legion's president from 2001 to 2003.
The Legion hosts its Vimy Night each year on the first Saturday in April. The event is named after the Battle of Vimy Ridge – the pivotal battle in the First World War that happened from April 9 to 12, 1917.
Not only did Canada dislodge German soldiers from Vimy Ridge in northwest France, but the battle is widely regarded as Canada's unofficial birth as a nation.
“By nightfall on the 12th of April, the Canadian corps was in firm control of the ridge,” local Legion president Troy LeBlanc said.
More than 97,000 Canadian soldiers participated in the battle; the Canadian corps suffered 10,602 casualties, with 3,598 killed and another 7,004 wounded.
But 4,000 Germans were captured as prisoners of war, and an untold number were killed or wounded. LeBlanc noted the Germans also had to reassess their defensive strategy after they retreated from the ridge.
“The Battle of Vimy was the first instance in which all four Canadian divisions, made up of troops drawn from all parts of the country, fought as a cohesive formation,” LeBlanc said.