In 1992 our first Commander, Colonel Brock Baker, started us on what turned out to be the right path. He was a real pioneer. Without him we would not be where we are today. He was joined by a crowd of heroes who wanted The Legion of Honor to be on this oasis. We are glad they came and even more pleased that they decided to stay. He is the embodiment of that group and, as such, we owe him a debt of gratitude.
In 1999 the Commander of that year, Colonel Harry Drummond, felt that we should be doing more and he organized a Colour Party. He literally 'put us on the road'. We proudly march at the head of the Shrine parade carrying the Shrine Colours: the Canadian flag in the place of honour on the right; the U.S. flag to its left; followed by the Mexican and the Panamanian flags. We attend as many parades as our veterans are able to march. We present the Colours at as many Shrine functions as possible. To date these have included Potentates' Balls, and Ceremonials.
PC Drummond "Carried the Sword" as Commander, Legion of Honor Colour Party, until ill health forced him to pass the sword to his successor.
In 2000 the Commander of that year, Colonel Morris Esber, also became an Innovator, leaving footprints in the sand. He promoted the idea of us having a meeting with our counterparts in the Edmonton area, The Al Shamal Legion of Honor. This has become a tradition and each September year we travel, with our ladies, to Red Deer. We renew friendships, compare notes, and have lunch together. Following the year 2000 each new Commander in turn has taken up the challenge and organized the reunion. PC continues to be a strong supporter of the unit with his favourite role being that of Master of Ceremonies.
In the year 2001 the Commander of that year, Colonel John Richardson, not content with setting up in 1999 and maintaining a web site for the Legion of Honour, www.geocities.com/xcaf decided that this unit should be doing something more. As members of the unit where all have had some ties with the military he wanted us to have an active role on Remembrance Day. On November 11th of 2001 and each year since he has organized and been part of the service held at the Al Azhar Shrine Centre. Members of the greater Masonic family are actively encouraged to attend. Those attending are expected to contribute a minimum of one dollar to the Patient Transportation Fund. As many as possible are encouraged to contribute non-perishable food items to the Veterans' Food Bank. More and more choose to do so.
In the year 2002 the Commander of that year, Colonel Andrew Bogle, left new footprints in the sand, helping to define who and what we are. Given that the Alberta Gaming Commission had approved a portion of gaming revenues going to charitable causes he organized us for work in a casino. With a two-day commitment and two shifts a day there was much work to do. Many volunteers were needed. With his urging we did it and found that with hard work we had had our first 'fund raiser'. Within the next 28 months he (and we!) had two other successful casino work sessions. In the year 2005 PC Andy Bogle 'Took up the Sword' from PC Harry Drummond and became The Commander of the Legion of Honor Color Party.
In the year 2003 Commander Allen Richards pushed the envelope in a subtle fashion encouraging us to travel to far away places with strange-sounding names (with apologies to Red Deer, Brooks, and Medicine Hat). By popular demand he stayed on as Commander in the year 2004.
The above Commanders have helped shape this unit. But none would have made a mark if it were not for three members who are quiet examples to all of us. They are always there: they can always be counted on; they will always do a first-class job with dedication, thoroughness, and good humour. These are the Adjutant, Major Bill Westgate; the Finance Officer, Captain Keith Horn; and the Chaplain, Captain Ivan Novlesky who is also Telephone Committee Coordinator. All members of the Al Azhar Legion of Honor owe these three a hearty vote of thanks for their 'footprints in the sand'.
NOTE: If you are aware of other members of the Al Azhar Legion of Honor who have made a significant contribution and so left "Footprints in the Sand" for the unit please send your nomination to the Webmaster.