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SACKVILLE, N.B. - They’re a hard-working, dedicated bunch.
Jean Stevens is past provincial president of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Ladies’ Auxiliaries in New Brunswick.
“We know, as the ladies’ auxiliary, that we provide to the comfort of our veterans,” she says. “We’re also there to assist our branch.”
Members raise money holding dinners, bakes sales, bingo and more. There is also the adopt-a-veteran program, birthday program - for those that are in Ridgewood Veterans Health Wing - and another to support homeless veteran programs.
And auxiliary members play an important role when members pass away, Stevens says.
“There is a very honourable memorial service held and tribute for these instances. The ladies’ auxiliary and branch joins together for this. It is such a moving time.”
The auxiliary is a unique group, she continued.
“The uniform is totally unique. It is a white beret, a white skirt and a Kentucky bow tie. We’re the only ones in the Dominion of Canada to wear this auxiliary uniform. Our legion uniform is standard across Canada.”
“We have a lot of military history in my family. The only way I could ever say thank you to my father or my uncle was to join the legion and volunteer and give to them.” Jean Stevens
Stevens says a student bursary program is a big part of the auxiliary’s agenda.
Being a member is heartwarming, she adds.
“You do something for the youth, seniors, the schools and the community. But, most of all, you get to give a little bit of yourself to history past and history going forward. Moving forward, it would be great to see the younger veterans continue to carry our torch.”
Stevens is the daughter of a Second World War veteran. Her uncle, who also served during that time, died in service overseas and is buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands. Her brother is also a retired “modern-day” veteran.
“We have a lot of military history in my family. The only way I could ever say thank you to my father or my uncle was to join the legion and volunteer and give to them.”