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Lesa Peat, the president of the Shelburne Legion Branch 220, has stepped down after more than half a decade in the role.
The Shelburne Legion officially announced the change to its executive in a Facebook post last Thursday (July 1).
“It was [a] tough decision, certainly, this was the past seven years of my life, but I stepped down from the title so that things could move forward,” said Peat who noted her plans to move out of Shelburne. “Even though I resigned as president, I will remain on the executive as the membership chair until I move.”
A Shelburne resident since 1989, Peat has spent many years part of the local legion. Starting with cleaning the facilities through her own cleaning company, she went on to work for them part-time as a bartender before becoming an Executive member, and later Branch president in 2014.
“I really like to help people out, especially the seniors and veterans, and I don’t mean just the older veterans, we’ve had quite a few young veterans come through with PTSD,” said Peat.
Speaking with the Free Press, Peat explained how her grandfather, Willian Robert Stevenson, was a World War II veterans and her great-grand father was in World War I. Both were flight instructors.
“Growing up with my grandfather, I never understood why he was the way he was. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood what I was witnessing was more of a PTSD type situation,” said Peat.
William Robert Stevenson, is one of the veterans featured each year on the Shelburne Hometown Heroes banners, a local initiative which Peat sat on the four-member committee of and helped bring to the community. Hometown Heroes, launched in 2015, and honours veterans during the month of November.
When asked about what she has been most proud of during her time as Legion president, Peat said being part of the Hometown Heroes banners, as well as looking after the veterans and seeing the youth grow in the legion community.
Liz Whitten, a past president in 2012 and 2013 at the local legion, will be taking over the role of president.
“It’s exciting, I have a lot of things to remember some of which come naturally and some I have to read up on, but I am going to give it my best and I have a great executive with me that are willing to help,” said Whitten.
Other changes in the membership include Dean Schroeder stepping up to 1st vice, Phillip Norris stepping up to 2nd vice, April Addison being appointed sports officer and Peat taking over as membership chair.
“Nothing has changed and this organization is still there for all of them [the community],” said Peat. “Come out and help support the new executive to make this future and bright one.”
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press