Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Three lifetime members members of the Royal Canadian Legion Mersey Branch #38 have received a Palm Leaf, the highest award bestowed to a Legion member.
Larry Weagle, his wife Joan Weagle, and Murray Crouse of Milton accepted the awards at Mersey Branch's monthly meeting September 16.
"We were flabbergasted to even think we would get the highest award the Legion gives out," said Joan.
Comrade Marion Fryday-Cook, president of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut command, was on hand for the awards' presentation.
The Palm Leaf award is granted to ordinary, associate or affiliate voting members in the Legion whose activities and contributions are deemed to exceed the standard expected of a member.
Consideration is given to the award nominee's personal sacrifice, time or professional expertise that has contributed significantly to the branch and the community, or has enhanced the image of the Legion within the community.
"It is unbelievable to get that much honour that people think of me that much to nominate me," said Larry.
A member of the army reserves in the 1960s, Larry is the president of the Legion, a position he has held on-and-off for the past 15 years. He has been a member of the Mersey Branch for more than 40 years and has held almost all of the Legion's positions during that time. He has often been found cooking at the Legion, and has organized and assisted at numerous events over the years.
Joan also has held numerous positions at the Legion over her 25 years as a member. Currently, she is the bingo and sports chair and helps with the poppy campaign.
Veteran Murray Crouse said "it feels good" to be recognized. The 82-year-old has been a member of the Legion for approximately 55 years.
He served in the military in the 2RCR or Royal Canadian Regiment Infantry Battalion and ended his career with the Black Watch Regiment.
Like the others, Crouse has held numerous positions in the Mersey Branch over the years and continues to serve as the Honours, Awards and Service officer.
In order to receive a Palm Leaf, Legion members also need to have been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) or Award (MSA). Essentially, the Palm Leaf is an MSM with distinction – it only takes into account the service that members have accomplished since receiving their MSM or MSA.