Val Noyes with her medal for meritorious service

Val Noyes with her medal for meritorious service

Six years of service stand out

Sidney legion volunteer honoured for serving six years as president of local branch

Legion member Valerie Noyes is has to rework the medal arrangement on her Legion uniform after earning an honour to top her career as president of the local branch. The past president was handed the meritorious service award on Jan. 15 after being nominated by her cohorts at the Saanich Peninsula Legion Branch 37.

“It was quite an honour, and very humbling,” Noyes said. “These service awards are not given out lightly. At first I thought I didn’t deserve it at all.”

In nominating her, the branch outlined a list of duties and extras she’s performed, from presenting awards to a variety of cadet groups, to her prized poppy campaign.

“She was silent on a lot of things she did,” said vice-president George Coldwell. “She’s done a tremendous job for the branch. There’s no two ways about it. She’s kept it going.”

Noyes was the first woman president of the branch that started in 1926, and so good at her job that six years went by until she just recently was replaced. Mary Truttmen, was second vice-president for two years before accepting the president’s position.

Over those years the poppy campaign was her pride and joy. In the seven years since Noyes took it over, she’s pumped the numbers up from pulling in $52,000 each year to about $82,000 last year.

“It was in a bit of a slump,” Noyes said. “I felt we could generate a lot more from the Peninsula, and there are so many veterans out here that really need assistance.”

The poppy campaign is an ongoing effort, visible in the community for three weeks from late October to Nov. 11 each year. Funds raised go toward helping serving Canadian Forces members, veterans and their dependents, recovery programs for trauma-related stress due to military service and housing for homeless veterans.

“She’s taken over the poppy campaign, worked with the hospitals and Broadmead Lodge and Veterans Affairs,” Coldwell said. “She’s quite a lady. She’s very dynamic in her way of getting things done. It’s hard to say no to her.”

On top of that work, in May, she lost her friend of 45 years, secretary and membership chair Marsh Nicholson. While suffering the personal loss, Noyes dove in and did the work that empty chair created.

“Everybody felt she deserved the highest award the Legion can give,” Coldwell said. “The whole board did.