The satisfaction of having people approach him and thank him for what he’s doing, for helping out and showing that he cares is why Ken Brandel volunteers.
The 14-year member, and current president, of the Armstrong Royal Canadian Legion was named Armstrong Spallumcheen Citizen of Year 2019 in a special ceremony at the Armstrong Activity Centre Tuesday.
“Well, it’s certainly an honour to work for a cause I believe in and love, and to be nominated for this award, I guess it means you’re doing more than you thought you did,” said Brandel, described in his nomination for the award as a tireless volunteer for the Royal Canadian Legion in Armstrong.
”Ken is a valued member of the branch. He is always the first to volunteer for community activities,” said the nomination.
A former sonar man and physical education instructor in the Royal Canadian Navy, Brandel worked in sports stores in Comox after his discharge before he and wife, Judy, moved to Monte Lake to run the Super Save gas station and store. After selling the store, the couple retired to Armstrong.
“We love it here. It’s a great place,” said Brandel, a native of Saskatoon who grew up in Grand Forks. The Brandels have two adult children and five grandkids.
He has served on the legion executive in various positions for many years and volunteers alongside other committed members providing Wheels to Meals every Wednesday, hosting the annual yard sale, the Saturday meat draws and the Gardom Lake Legion Camp.
In addition to to supporting the Armstrong Legion, Brandel also finds time to support other community organizations.
“(He) is always willing to help with community events like the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce grad rehearsal barbecue, children’s bike rodeo and Canada Day,” said another nomination.
Since 2015, the legion, under Brandel’s guidance, has taken over organization of the annual candlelight ceremony in December, honouring the 39 servicemen from Armstrong and Spallumcheen who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Brandel also supported the Legion’s acquisition of the IPE Parking, setting up and running this fundraiser, formerly done by the Armstrong Rotary Club.
“Ken has always emphasized the importance of community service,” said a nominator. “He is the first one to acknowledge that the work he does is not done alone – there are many members of the Royal Canadian Legion Armstrong who contribute to the betterment of the community in many ways.”
Brandel was honoured by past Citizens of the Year and invited guests Tuesday at a tea hosted by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce and Armstrong Activity Centre.
Brandel will receive official recognition as Citizen of the Year 2019 during the opening ceremony of the Canada Day celebrations in Memorial Park July 1, followed by participation in the IPE Parade as the honourary parade marshal and at other community events.