Coming from a small farming community, it was part of our life. We helped each other if something needed to be done. When the Women’s Institute or the UCW hosted one of their community fundraising dinners, as teenagers, my friends and I were asked to help set up tables, serve the dinner, wash dishes, whatever was needed to get the job done. When the family down the road was selling their farm, on auction day everyone pitched in to help the auctioneer move the merchandise or sell the delicious homemade sandwiches, pies and coffee to the auction goers.
There was no IODE in my hometown of Zephyr, Ontario. It was not until 1986, when Jean Richards moved to Holland Landing and decided that community needed an IODE chapter that I was introduced to the opportunity of making a difference in this amazing organization.
I joined IODE in order to give back to the community and, in turn, have been given something in return – life long friendships. We are a group of like-minded individuals when it comes to serving others; perhaps that’s why I have so many friends in this room – some I have know for over 25 years; some I just met this week. We have common goals. There are many different ways to achieve our goals, but we, as members of IODE have a history of working together to accomplish those goals.
Membership is the key to the future of IODE – that is the message that Ann Dyer has been promoting throughout her presidency. Across the country, members have been working together to make that happen. A good example of the possibilities was shown to us yesterday, with the presentation from IODE Juno Beach students, talking about their challenges as a group of teenagers in this fairly new chapter and the guidance they have received from their mentors here in Calgary. They were a delightful group of young women and their message should be an inspiration for all of us to go home and explore the possibility of chapters in your local high schools. Those members are the future of IODE.
There are a number of past presidents in the room tonight. Each one of them has brought her own personal touch and dedication to this job and, on behalf of all members I want to thank each one of you for your commitment to IODE. To the newest Past President to join the group, Ann Dyer…
Ann, you have put so much of your energy and your enthusiasm into your role as president for the past 2 years, and we thank you for your leadership, your willingness to travel the country and your dedication to increasing membership. I intend to continue your momentum to the best of my ability.
I can’t imagine a better place to be starting my journey than here in Calgary. From the moment Shirley and Fred Lamont picked me up at the airport I just knew that the western hospitality would be carried throughout the week and extended to all the delegates who came together for this conference.
There is someone who was not able to travel to Calgary to be here this week. Jean Richards has been a wonderful mentor and supporter for me in my journey here tonight. She still understands the importance of tradition and at the same time can recognize the need for change in order for chapters to thrive and I wish she could have been here to celebrate this evening with me.
Another special person who comes to mind as someone to thank is Chris Bateman - thank you for being a friend and for continuing to encourage me to follow this path.
I’m blessed that my family are here tonight.
To my son Ryan and his wife, May, who arrived yesterday from Vancouver. Thank you for being here to share this special moment with me. This has indeed been a very busy month for our household, as Ryan and May are newlyweds – their wedding was just three weeks ago, on May 4th.
Roy. Here I go again! I could not take this step without your support and I thank you for your love and your encouragement. Keep practicing your skills in the kitchen: I may be just a bit busier than usual in the next little while.
I’m honored, and humbled to accept the role as your National President, and I thank you for your confidence in me. I know that together we can embrace some of the changes needed to take IODE into the future. With your passion and your dedication, we CAN make it happen.
E. Anne Mason