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meetings were changed to 7:30 p.m. Weekly cribbage started at the hall on Wednesdays in October. The Branch promoted the 2-minute Wave of Silence for Remembrance Day. The Branch celebrated their 60th Anniversary on September 18, 1999.
ERICKSON BRANCH #143 & LADIES AUXILIARY SEPTEMBER 18,1999
Celebrations began at II :00 a.m. with the serving of hot dogs and ice cream to approximately 125 guests. Branch president, Cde. Victor Bachewich braved the cool temper atures to raise $30.00 for the Alzheimer Society during his stint in the Erickson Volunteer Fire Department Dunk Tank. At noon the guests were entertained by the Schevchenko Dance Ensemble from Sandy Lake and Crystal Scott's Highland Dancers from Minnedosa. Both groups provided a very impressive display of their skills to the great enjoyment of those in attendance.
The 60th Anniversary Dinner and Dance began with socializing at 5:30 p.m. Dinner was provided by Sandy Lake Golf Course at 6:30 p.m. to 160 Branch and Auxiliary members and guests. Following the sumptuous meal a delicious anniversary cake, provided and decorated by Katie Challborn, was served by Ladies Auxiliary President, Catherine Pollon, and Ladies Auxiliary Sgt-at-Anns, Katie Challbom.
Presentations of corsages were made to Ladies Auxiliary members Harriet Hodges, Sylvia Holmberg, Kay Mayor and Gladys Woloshen. L. A. President, Catherine Pollon, also thanked the Branch for the joint celebration of the 60th anniversaries. Representing the Provincial Council Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion, Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Command, Cathy Weibe presented the Auxiliary with a framed congratulatory certifi cate on their 60th Anniversary.
Congratulations, with regrets, were extended to the Branch by Command President, Cde. Joe Faser and District #2 Commander, Cde. Harry Bray. Greetings and congrat ulations were delivered to the Branch and Auxiliary by Zone 24 Commander, Cde. L. McLeod.
Years of Service pins were presented to Branch #143 Ordinary and Associate member in attendance. Eligible members not in attendance will have their pins forwarded to them by the secretary. Certificates of Merit for outstand ing Legion service were presented to Cde. Jack Stacy, Cde. Victor Waddell, Cde. Marg Eden and Cde. Jocelyn Steele.
At the June 1999 Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Command Convention in Winnipeg, Erickson Branch #143 was awarded a plaque for achieving the largest percent age increase in membership in 1998 (for branches with over 100 members). Branch Membership Chairman, Cde. M. Eden was presented with a Membership Achievement pin
for her work resulting in the Branch earning this award. The plaque will be displayed in the Branch.
The Branch always has a large participation by local students in the Poster and Literary Competition held prior to Remembrance Day each year. The 1998 Senior Poetry entry of Devin Foord of Onanole placed second at the National level. Devin was recognized, with pride, by the Branch for this achievement.
A Past-President plaque, listing the 19 presidents of the Branch over 26 terms since 1939, was unveiled during the evening. This beautiful plaque will be on display in the Branch and maintained into the future.
The evening concluded with a dance with music provided by 'The Band'. Thus ended a very successful and enjoyable day in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of both Erickson Branch #143 and the Ladies Auxiliary.
Branch #143 continues to host a Ladies Auxiliary Appreciation Dinner in Febrnary each year. In March, 4- H Public Speaking is co-sponsored with the Ladies Auxiliary. A Golf Tournament is held in June and a bonspiel in December. During Legion Week an Honors and Awards Dinner is held. Members volunteer to work at the weekly bingo, deliver Meals on Wheels and drive the Handivan. A well-attended Remembrance Day Service is held November 11. This ongoing commitment to the principles of the Royal Canadian Legion and support from the members, Ladies Auxiliary and the community ensure the continued growth and strength of Branch #143. The current Branch membership is 147. The Branch embraces the chal lenges and rewards of the future years.
THE ERICKSON LEGION BINGO
The Erickson Legion Bingo was held in 1958 in the Legion Hut which, at that time, was situated on Main Street where the Beaver Lumber storage lot is now. Comrade Joe McPhee started the bingo and they were held on Saturday night. Hard cards were used in those days and the numbers were covered with plastic buttons. The white lap cards cost one dollar and the blue cards were twenty-five cents each. A player could play eighteen cards all evening for a cost of $5.25. The payout, to begin with, was $5.00 for a regular game and $10.00 for the blackout. The first turkey bingo was held in December 1958, on Saturday afternoon. For this bingo, they collected five cents a card each game, to win a turkey. If it was a large turkey the cost was ten cents a card.
They had a few chocolate bars sold from the kitchen by Comrade Joe Tinkler. When the Theatre closed down, about 1963, there was a noticeable increase in the atten dance at the bingo and sometimes it was over crowded in the Hut. The members began discussing the possibility of building a new hall but instead, in 1967, they purchased