Barry’s Bay Legion Branch 406 Executive hosted a Cheers for Volunteers gathering on November 1 to thank all the regular members and friends in the community who volunteer their time to assist with the many activities of the Legion. (Photo above) Note: please scroll down for details of upcoming Remembrance Day events at the Barry’s Bay Legion.
Heather Poliquin, Branch 406 President, welcomed all volunteers to the Cheers for Volunteers event saying, “We couldn’t do what we do to support the community without your help so we really appreciate it. We’ve got people here today that have helped with Public Speaking, Bingos, Canada Day, Pancake Breakfasts, Ladies Auxiliary dinners, and many other activities that we do throughout the year and we really appreciate it. Thank you very much for your help to the Legion.”
Poliquin greeted volunteers as they arrived, giving out drink tickets to the adults, and after everyone had mingled while listening to some live music performed by Jean LeGendre (see photo), they enjoyed a delicious buffet provided by the Legion Executive and some members. Poliquin said she hoped that Cheers for Volunteers would become an annual event.
In discussing Branch 406’s recent contribution of $2,000 to Barry’s Bay and Area Minor Hockey, Poliquin said, “We want to support the different rinks in the area (from Whitney down to Combermere). We’re also sponsoring two free skate sessions at the arena. We gave $1200 to Girl Guides last year. We usually wait until after Christmas, after the Poppy Campaign, to see where all the money is at and then we make a decision. This year we know we are going to donate to Perley & Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre in Ottawa.” She explained that in October she visited two local men who are there and learned that Perley & Rideau plan to refurbish everybody’s bedroom. She said it costs about $600 for new curtains and bedding, so Branch 406 decided to do two bedrooms.
Heather Poliquin, Legion President, and Tom Bryce, Sergeant at Arms and Sports Chair
Poliquin told The Current, “We’re always looking for volunteers. We’d like to have dances and things like that, but we have a hard time getting volunteers to come out and help with those things.” She said anyone of any age can volunteer, but if it’s a licenced event they have to be of legal age. The Legion welcomes young people and Poliquin said, “The high school students work the bingos for community hours; they can work the breakfasts.”
We asked some of the volunteers about their experiences helping out at the Legion.
Dave and Shawn Eagles are regular volunteers; Dave is on the Legion executive, but Shawn is not. Dave explained, “We work together as bartenders. Coming out for a stag and doe you get to see the bride and groom, the bridesmaids and all the people having a good time. A lot of the time they are family affairs, stag and doe parties, so you’ve got little kids dancing – two and three-year-olds – and you’ve got great-grandparents too. You get to watch the people, listen to good music. The only thing we hate is you don’t finish until 1 or 1:15, and by the time you clean up and put everything away you’re getting home at two o’clock and the next day hurts. Even though we haven’t been drinking, the next day still hurts.”
Shawn agrees about the late nights but says, “I do enjoy working the stag and doe parties.”
Volunteers Dave and Shawn Eagles behind the bar; Kristin Marchand (left), Ellie Kuiack, Liz Beasley, Pearl Smith
Ellie Kuiack often comes to the Bay to visit her grandmother, Liz Beasley. (photo above) Ellie has two cousins in Ottawa who also visit, but said she comes here the most to hang out with Beasley. An avid horseback rider, she also enjoys riding at a farm in the Valley. When she’s here she helps at the Pancake Breakfasts and attends Legion family events like Canada Day. She took the day off school to attend Cheers for Volunteers with her grandmother.
Beasley suggested we speak to recently-retired Tony Brull, saying he makes the “best scrambled eggs.” Brull helps with the Pancake Breakfasts which are usually held on the third Sunday of every month. Brull told us his secret with mock modesty, “It’s the chickens.” But then he admitted that he grew up on a poultry farm. In fact, he said, it’s all about knowing the “Magic Moment” — that is, the right time to take the eggs off the heat and move them to the serving table so they won’t go rubbery. Brull and Jan MacLeod (below) weren’t Legion members when they moved to Barry’s Bay two years ago. But he’s been helping with the breakfasts for the past eighteen months and said that the Legion has been great because they get to meet local people and become more invested in the community. And, he said, “It’s lots of fun.”
Jan MacLeod and Tony Brull
Remembrance Day events at the Barry’s Bay Legion, 250 John Street:
Sunday Nov. 10 at 2:00 p.m.
The Opeongo Readers Theatre (ORT) will present “Once there was a War.” The ORT presents one of its memorable Remembrance Day shows honouring Veterans. Free Admission. CDs of last year’s show, “Remember Me: WWII Letters Home” will be available for purchase at $10 each. All proceeds to the Station Keepers and the Madawaska Valley Public Library.