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Virden Legion to host local veterans, first responders banquet

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the RCAF,Former Snowbird Captain Scott Andrew is a guest speaker at banquet to honour military, police and first responders
Military historian Ed James presents at the 2019 Veterans Banquet in Virden Legion Hall.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch #8 in Virden is bringing back an appreciation banquet, after three years, to honour our veterans and first responders. The event began a number of years ago but this is the first appreciation banquet since COVID-19.

Held on Thursday, May 16, in the Royal Canadian Legion Hall on Wellington Street West, it’s Virden and area saying thank-you to two groups of special people, with the Legion being the sponsor of this event.

The Appreciation Banquet is open to all veterans and first responders in Virden and the surrounding area (Oak Lake, Reston, Pipestone, Canupawakpa, Elkhorn, Mason, McAuley, Miniota, Kenton, Birtle, Russell, and Kirkella).

The theme will be the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Did you know that Virden was a Royal Canadian Air Force town during the Second World War? The RCAF Air Base was located where our present-day airport is.

The Number 19 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) was in operation from 1941 to 1944. It graduated over 2,700 students. A quote from a Virden Empire-Advance reporter way back then, said it housed a top-notch flight training school for the Royal Canadian Air Force pilots. During those years Virden had its only Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron which closed when the RCAF Air Base ceased operations.

Kelvon Smith, event committee chair person, says guest speakers and presenters will mark this occasion. A member of Canada’s Snowbird flight crew, Captain Brock Andrew will be a guest speaker; as well, Ed James will stage a live re-enactment of an RCAF Bomber Command of WW2. Cold War veteran John Fefchak will present on the Cold War Era of the RCAF.

Memorabilia including newspapers and books will be on display.


Most people think of veterans from the Second World War. When we say veterans now, we should be thinking of the Korean War, the Cold War, the United Nations Peace Keeping, the NATO operations, and those who are recently retired. This banquet includes veterans from Allied Forces.

Members of the RCMP who served Canada or did Peace Keeping Duties in different parts of the world are also considered as veterans.

First responders who serve Virden and the RM of Wallace-Woodworth are invited.

All members of the Wallace District Fire Department with their escorts are invited to this grand evening of fine food and company.

Also, invited are all members and admin staff of the Virden Detachment of the RCMP plus escorts. Likewise, the Manitoba First Nations Police Service and escorts are invited.

The Legion has also invited the Sheriffs who serve the Virden Court, the Natural Resources Officer plus our Paramedics/EMS based at the ambulance station here in Virden.

All invited guests and their escorts will be treated to a delicious supper cooked by Virden Legion Branch No. 8 Ladies Auxiliary. Hats off to them for taking on this task.

The dress for the event is business casual, dress or duty uniforms. Legion officials are requested to be in Legion dress.

A special mention here to the former militia members of the XII Manitoba Dragoons who are now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s: this Appreciation Banquet, is meant for you, too. You signed the dotted line to serve your nation.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the banquet beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The banquet is not open to the public. Please RSVP by May 12, if you’re coming by phoning 204-748-3321 or sending a message via e-mail to: [email protected]. Include the names and number of people attending.


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