The Army Navy and Air Force Veterans Auxiliary celebrated its 50th anniversary with a supper in the city Sunday.
The idea for an AN & AF Ladies Auxiliary originated in 1961.
Twelve ladies were on that Charter: Sophie Chaney, Nellie Lennie, Marilyn Allen, Grace Borys, Liz Fandrey, Dorothy Platka, Francis Drake, Kathleen Kelm, Minnie McInnes, Bertha Copland, Liz Ziglo and Lynn Miller, stated event Master of Ceremony Randy Atkinson.
The Ladies Auxiliary was presented its official Charter on March 17, 1962. It was the seventh auxiliary to be formed in Saskatchewan.
Atkinson said fundraising began immediately with dances, rummage sales, raffles, auctions, bake sales.
"Members would bring rags and sell them to garages and machine shops – a little extra money," he related to those in attendance.
"Pickled eggs would make their first appearance as well – likely still a staple today as it was 50 years ago."
It was a different era, said Atkinson noting admission to a dance then was $1.35 – "and that got you lunch as well – of course, donated by members."
"And the first New Year's Eve dance – well admission went up – from $1.35 to $1.50."
The local auxiliary hosted their first provincial meeting in 1964 at the Fire Hall, with lunch at the Yorkton Hotel, and dinner at the Holiday Inn.
Atkinson said the auxiliary has succeeded based on their dedication.
"The hard work and dedication of members over 50 years has resulted in the ladies remaining true to their motto – and be able to assist and give back," he said, adding there have been a long list of charities which have benefited, including groups such as Camp Easter Seal, Sunrise Health, Anderson Lodge, Sask Abilities Council, Salvation Army, Yorkton Band Boosters, Special Olympics, and Shelwin House.
Atkinson said the group has always remained true to its motto; 'it is the principal object of the Auxiliary, to be of every assistance to the local unit, to give aid where needed to wives and children of veterans and fallen heroes.
'And to have, at all times, the interests of those for whom we are working, come first.'
For Atkinson there is also a personal connection to the AN & AF Auxiliary.
"My mother Helen became a member here on Jan. 20, 1964 – she held virtually every executive position at one time – among many other duties," he said.
"We moved back to Yorkton in 1960. At that time my mom was caring for a newborn, a one year old, a five year old, a nine year old and a 13 year old. Like many other women of the day – it was a full load and more."
"My mother was 39 when she became a member …
"These were women whose husbands, or they themselves, had served. In 1961, when this club had its genesis – World War II had ended 16 years previous – the conflict in Korea ended only eight years before.
"So this was a place where many of the initial members were women with families and they had already been married for 10 or 15 years already.
"This place – this wonderful organization – this was like respite, recharge in their already busy lives.
"This Ladies Auxiliary, I know, was like a second home for my Mom and many other moms'. She loved this place – its people – and what it stood for."