This year, Women’s History Month recognizes women’s invaluable contributions to the military in Canada over the years and honours Canadian women, past and present, who have done incredible work within and outside the Canadian Forces, taking on great challenges and opening doors so that others may follow.
Since our founding 111 years ago, as a Canadian women’s charitable organization, membership in IODE has opened the doors of opportunity for women of all ages to make a difference in their communities by dedicating their volunteer service to a better Canada.
Our history, as recorded in numerous volumes, is one of great service and compassion. Collectively, our members have taken on significant challenges to assist our service men and women, their families and those distressed by wars.
During the periods of World War I and II, and following these wars, $12,000,000 was raised by IODE members to purchase hospitals, hospital ships, ambulances, bomber and fighter aircraft and field comforts for Canadian service personnel. IODE members gave relief to prisoners of war and those in refugee camps. IODE members established libraries for our service personnel and held canteens for them. Following World War II, they raised over $1,000,000 in order to distribute massive quantities of clothes, medical supplies and food relief for displaced persons.
IODE members created doors of opportunity for others through IODE War Memorial Scholarships, established to honour Canadians who gave their lives or suffered disabilities in the two World Wars.
Since then, over four million dollars has been awarded in War Memorial Scholarships. For the academic year 2012 – 2013, one prestigious $25,000 scholarship will be presented to Canada’s most outstanding PhD scholar in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, and another five scholarships of $15,000 will also be awarded.
There is a quote in one recorded history of IODE that states: “Dearly as we revere our traditions, grateful as we are for the heritage that has been bequeathed us, we cannot live by these alone, but by the boundless opportunities that call us to greater service in the years to come. It has been truly said that the leadership of the past has been that of individuals, the leadership of tomorrow will be that of team work.”
I honour the individual members of IODE who gave faithful volunteer service to Canada. They were strong, determined women who worked quietly, behind the scenes, to respond promptly and generously to assist with Canada’s war efforts.
I invite women of all ages to join our IODE team as we continue with our tradition of honouring and supporting our military personnel and their families and remembering those who sacrificed their lives during time of war.
For more information about Canadian Women History Month, please visit www.swc-cfc.gc.ca.
IODE Canada National President