Ellen and Len Lavender with Mike Beggs at the Chemainus Legion. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ellen and Len Lavender with Mike Beggs at the Chemainus Legion. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Lavenders leave a huge void in Chemainus volunteer component

Community provides a warm send-off to couple before the move to Calgary

There’s no replacement for dedicated volunteers like Len and Ellen Lavender.

A huge void is clearly going to be felt in Chemainus with the departure this week of the Lavenders for Calgary. They could be seen just about everywhere since they came to live here in 2010.

The Lavenders are making the move to the Alberta city due to family matters. One of their daughters and two of their seven grandchildren live there.

Len and Ellen were both dedicated members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 191 executive, for starters, Len as president the last five years and Ellen as recording secretary.

“There’s only so many people who can fill the bill as far as being on the executive committee,” explained Mike Beggs, who returns on an interim basis from his first vice-president’s post to the Legion presidency that he’s previously held for two different terms.

“Chemainus is run by a handful of people.”

“There’s going to be some people step up,” said Len. “Mike, he’s a long-time resident. It’s good to have him stepping in.”

“When we come in here (the Legion), it’s like coming into a huge family,” added Ellen.

A special send-off was held for the Lavenders at the Legion on Sunday afternoon.

“We had a nice crowd around here,” said Len.

“Actually, one of the larger crowds we’ve had in here which is nice,” Ellen indicated.

The Lavenders made it their mission to devote themselves to community causes. When not taking part in Legion matters, there was always something else that required attention or another mandate to fulfill with different organizations.

Ellen was also involved as a volunteer with the Chemainus Visitor Centre and Chemainus Festival of Murals Society, and chaired the All Saints Catholic Parish that includes St. Mary’s in Ladysmith and St. Joseph’s Church in Chemainus. She’s been going the extra mile during COVID, volunteering with the 49th Parallel Grocery to fulfill needs.

Len has done the same with 49th Parallel as a volunteer shopper for on-line and delivery orders. His other claims to fame include a longtime involvement with the Rotary Club, including Chemainus, a director with the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce for a couple of years and four years with seniors’ transportation before it was shut down by COVID.

Those are just some of the undertakings and sacrifices made by the couple to help make the Chemainus area a better place to live.

“We kind of jumped into everything,” Ellen conceded.

They will miss Chemainus and Chemainus is going to miss them big-time.

“You get to know people and it kind of snowballs,” said Ellen. “And we don’t seem to be able to say ‘no.’ Again, it’s like a big family for us.”

“Definitely been an important chapter in our lives, that’s for sure,” Len conceded.

The Lavenders have lived in many communities over the years before retirement when they became entrenched in Chemainus.

Their phones and email will surely get a workout from their many friends and acquaintances here once they’ve moved. And they pledge to return for a few visits as time allows to keep those many friendships alive.

They’ve previously lived in other larger and smaller centres. They don’t expect it’ll quite be the same with their relocation to Calgary from Chemainus being at opposite ends of the spectrum.

“In a city, we’re not going to be walking down the street and know people,” chuckled Ellen.

Royal Canadian Legionvolunteers

 

Ellen and Len Lavender have been devoted Legion members since their arrival in Chemainus in 2010. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ellen and Len Lavender have been devoted Legion members since their arrival in Chemainus in 2010. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ellen and Len Lavender inside the Chemainus Legion Hall, a place where they spent a great deal of time at numerous functions over the years. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ellen and Len Lavender inside the Chemainus Legion Hall, a place where they spent a great deal of time at numerous functions over the years. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Len Lavender during a pre-COVID Remembrance Day service in Chemainus. (File photo)

Len Lavender during a pre-COVID Remembrance Day service in Chemainus. (File photo)