There's a new face at the helm of Estevan's Branch 60 of the Royal Canadian Legion, and as a result, there's a local representative in charge of the entire southeast.
Jim 'Frosty' Forrest was announced as the new President of the Estevan branch, taking over from Lyle Dukart after a two year stint as First Vice President. The ceremony was held on Saturday at the annual Past-Presidents dinner, where the election of executive officers also takes place.
"I certainly will be leaning on Lyle for assistance for learning more on the presidency as I go," he said, adding that the primary goal moving forward will be as it's always been...supporting veterans.
"We'll stay active in and support the community. We've had tremendous support from the community when we needed it, and we'd certainly like to give back in whatever way we are able to."
Forrest noted that the Legion has gone through some troubled financial times recently, with the southeast stepping forward and helping them knock those down. With that in the rearview mirror, it now becomes important to keep it back there.
"We need to stay vigilant and work towards making sure we don't get into that situation again. That's a big goal of ours. We're not able to help veterans if we aren't in good shape ourselves. We continue to do entertainment and so on in our facility here and rent out...and we're really pushing that. We're trying to make sure everyone knows that the Legion is in the community and that we're doing things."
He's also aware of the challege that's ahead of him, and grateful that the past president and other members will be alongside to provide input and support.
"It's a learning curve for me. I've learned quite a bit over the last couple of years as First Vice, but I've got lots of learning yet. I look forward to keeping the Legion a viable entity here in the community and growing it. I just want to see the Legion survive and survive well, and continue to do the work that we're supposed to be doing, which is service to veterans."
"We're holding our own, but we could use a lot more business, added Lyle Dukart, the past president, adding that Forrest is the man for the job, "He's a go-getter."
New to the executive committee will be Willie Forrest and Tyson Wilhelm, both of which from a newer generation, in which the past president expressed optimism that the future of the Legion is in good hands. Treasurer Leonard Grube will remain in his current role.
Increasing the membership will remain a priority for Dukart, who moves from the president's gavel to the job of Zone 1 Commander. He will now be in charge of the entire southeast, his area stretching to the Manitoba border to include Lampman, Carlyle and Kisbey, as well as Estevan.
"We're kind of a liasion for communications from Saskatchewan Command to our Branches and vice versa," he explained. His goal in the position is building upon and improving the lines of communication, and this playing a part in adding to the Legion's major push for membership.
"The only way you're going to get any new membership is communication. The more information we get to the Branches, the better. I've got an excellent Deputy Zone Commander right now, Nedra Clarke, who is President of the Carlyle branch. She's good at making up letters and getting emails to the branches, keeping everybody informed. That's where we pretty much have to stand, is just keep all the branches (in touch), then it's up to the branches to carry it through."
When it comes the current state of communication, he noted, "So far, so good...we've just got to carry it on."
Dukart added that, in particular, he's looking forward to more comradeship, meeting new members and improving on already established relationships.