During the Decoration Day reception at the Kamsack Legion Hall on June 2, Jim Woodward, president of the Kamsack branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, was presented with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
The medal was presented by Sharon Rudy, branch vice-president, in recognition of Woodward’s “significant volunteer contributions.”
Born in Swan River, Man. in 1947, Robert James Woodward attended school in Kamsack until entering the military in 1964, said a biographical sketch, the strength of which resulted in the presentation of the medal.
Woodward had been very active in Boy Scouts ad the air cadets and joined the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Air Arm in 1964 and served 26 years. He had been involved with quality assurance and worked as a civilian for two more years after his retirement. In 1975, he served on the NATO detachment on HMCS Fraser and Preserver in the North Atlantic and had been transferred to the Canadian Forces Base in Winnipeg where he worked on aircraft and flying across the northern hemisphere.
Woodward is a woodcarver, and one of his pieces was presented to HRH Prince Charles upon a visit to Winnipeg.
A member of the Kamsack Legion since 1964, he has served in the branch’s several offices including president and has served as the zone and district commander. He developed a museum and a wall of honour in the Legion Hall where school students are invited to tour in order to help them understand of the meaning of remembrance.
He was instrumental in having the monument installed at the Kamsack Cenotaph commemorating the HMCS Kamsack, a Second World War ship, and developed a memorial brick walk at Riverview Cemetery to recognize the many people who were part of this community and the many who gave their lives during the wars.
Woodward is credited with having modernized the Legion Hall and was responsible for much of the upgrading, painting and renovating of the heritage building. He designed a special flowerbed for Canada 150, is currently raising funds for an elevator for the Hall and began a Legion website.
He researches and posts on Find a Grave and has established a virtual cemetery of the Legion zone. He checks these cemeteries to ensure than the veterans’ headstones have not fallen into disrepair.
Woodward, who had operated a health food store in Fernie B.C., began an annual garlic festival in Kamsack five years ago and has written several garlic cookbooks.
A family historian, Woodward jokes that Queen Elizabeth is a 13th cousin, eight times removed and the family can claim being related to Lucille Ball, Colonel Sanders and George Bush. He has written a total of 13 books to date and has sent copies to both Prince William and Prince Harry.
He has a son and daughter-in-law currently serving in the Canadian forces as helicopter pilots and is a firm believer in organ donation and “Dying with Dignity.”