New ANAVETS exec holds first general meeting of 2013

Matt Gardner
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The Prince Albert Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans (ANAVETS) unit held its first general meeting of the year on Tuesday night with a new executive team.

Prince Albert ANAVETS unit president Dave Fidler addresses members during the group’s first general meeting of 2013, which marked the debut of a new executive team.

General meetings for ANAVETS Unit 222 are held in January, April, June, September, November and December, with the November meeting being nominations for executive positions and December being elections. The executive itself meets once per month in between.

“We just conduct general business at these meetings, (discuss) donations … that we may be making to different organizations, management issues for the club that perhaps we need repairs on something, or whatever,” Unit 222 president Dave Fidler said.

Like the rest of the executive, Fidler was elected to his new position in December. A member of the ANAVETS for 32 years, he had served on the executive for four non-consecutive years before assuming the mantle of leadership.

The revamped exec kicked off 2013 with a meeting that was fairly typical in its agenda, save for a new election to tie up some remaining loose ends.

“We’ll have a minor election tonight,” Fidler said before the meeting began. “We were short a couple positions on the executive, so I’ll open the floor for nominations for director positions.

“I have three positions yet to fill, and then we’ll take nominations tonight, see if we can get somebody elected to those other three positions so we have a full board instead of less of us having to do more work.”

The existing 2013 executive is certainly not lacking when it comes to experience.

First vice-president Sid Burns, for example, has been on the exec for a few years and now returns in a higher position. Second vice-president Richard Fulton is returning to the executive after a few years’ leave, and third-vice president Marion Lee has been on the board for more than eight years.

“It’s all been mostly people that have been on before and maybe been off for a while and took a break and now have come back,” Fidler said.

It’s all been mostly people that have been on before and maybe been off for a while and took a break and now have come back. Dave Fidler

Tuesday’s meeting began in traditional fashion, with the ceremonial marching in of flags, the singing of O Canada and a minute of silence in memory of fallen comrades.

After finance reports, assembled ANAVETS members listened to various committee reports. The committees range from Air Cadets (Unit 222 sponsors the local air cadet squadron) to Publicity, which includes releases for local media.

One of the most successful examples of the group’s work, an outreach effort for local seniors, originated with the Hospital/Visiting committee.

“We have seniors’ groups … that come in from all the homes now,” Fidler said. “We actually have them down to the club. Usually once a month, at least each one of the homes comes and … several of them, depending on how mobile they are, will play shuffleboard, pool, or just sit and chat and we’ll give them some lunch, etc. It gives them an outing away from the home.”

A challenge that the Prince Albert ANAVETS regularly tackle at their meetings is what organizations to donate money to.

Although they receive plenty of requests, the group’s propensity to give is tempered by their own financial situation. Like other veterans’ organizations across Canada, money has become harder to come by in recent years for the local ANAVETS. The group must also maintain its own expenses.

“We just recently renovated our bathrooms to the tune of $65,000, so it does cost quite a little bit to keep the building going,” Fidler said.

“A lot of veterans’ organizations are having trouble these days. Recently the (building) in Regina, one of the original Legions, has just been closed down … so it’s tough to keep everybody going and keep our objectives going.”

Organizations: ANAVETS, O Canada, Air Cadets Visiting committee

Geographic location: Canada, Regina

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