This Sunday, the Summerland Legion plans to honour one of their highest profile members.
In the Second World War, Steve Dunsdon, was a motorcycle dispatch rider in the European theatre. But as a Legion member, he rose to the top of the organization’s ranks when he became Dominion president in 1984, serving for two years as national leader for all the Royal Canadian Legions.
The branch is honouring him for that as well as for his leadership and service to the local Legion, where in 1960 he was the first president of Branch 22, when the Legion formally chartered nationally as the Royal Canadian Legion. That was also a year of rebuilding for the local branch, which had to construct a new home after the previous building was destroyed in a fire.
“There are certain members of a Legion who just wear their heart on their sleeve for the organization. Steve is obviously one of those,” said John Dorn, current president of the Summerland Legion. “Even at a branch level there is a huge time commitment to represent the branch at the zone. Once you start going up that hierarchy, there are all sorts of meetings all the time and a lot of travelling.”
Dorn, who moved to Summerland in 2006, said Dunsdon was still active in the Legion when he arrived and continues to be so.
“Because he had made it all the way to the top of the ladder in the hierarchy of the Legion, he was always sort of front and centre at any of the Legion meetings,” said Dorn. “He was the guy who knew the rules and the right way of doing things and he certainly knew if there was precedent for the way the Legion should be operating. He always has his two cents to say at any of the meetings.”
There are several levels between the local branch and the national office. Dorn said Dunsdon worked at all of them.
“Like a lot of service organizations, you are a branch president, zone commander, then a provincial president, and then a Dominion president,” he said. “It’s something to say that a fellow from a small town like Summerland made it all the way to the top. He must have been held in pretty high regard.”
The ceremony honouring Dunsdon will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. with a presentation at the Summerland Legion, followed by tea and cake. Dorn said the branch is offering an open invitation to Dunsdon’s many friends and numerous relatives to join in honouring him on Sunday.