BY JANA NIEME-LAHNALAMPI
A little about John Getchell, M.B.
The Onaping Falls Royal Canadian Legion Branch 503 is much more than an organization dedicated to war veterans and Remembrance Day — although that in itself is a noble cause.
In the words of John Getchell, current President of the branch, “We are not just about helping veterans. We dedicate funds to hockey teams, ski clubs, choirs, the Onaping Falls News and work with other organizations in our area to help them fundraise.
We also work with our youth, educating them about the Legion and what we stand for. Poster and literary contests for Remembrance Day, and public speaking for the younger students and bursaries for those who want to continue their education. The Legion provides valuable support to multiple organizations in our community.”
Recently the Legion collaborated with Kristy Paolini, the organizer of the Tri-Sport weekend, which helps bring people and money into our community facilities, supporting both private and public entities. This event in turn also supports numerous worthwhile organizations such as Onaping Falls Minor Hockey, as well as our local Softball league, Winter Carnival, food bank, Christmas hampers, kids with medical needs, Cartier Kids Club and Power Skating.
The Legion is much more than just a local hang out. It provides support to many organizations that make this community a better place to live in. A key person in the branch that oversees this good work is John Getchell. A branch member for 35 years, he has held various positions within the branch; the most recent being president. John embodies the mission of the Legion as he has dedicated himself to service to the community. A longtime leader of the Scouts Canada (Wolf Cubs), he has guided and educated the youth of our community for 18 years.
John’s roots in our community run deep. He attended Hardy Public School, Lindsley Public School and went on to be a proud CVDCS Flyer before attending Cambrian College. He worked locally at Falconbridge Nickel mines as a mechanic and trainer before retiring after 28 years of service.
John and his late wife Laurie raised their three daughters, Jolene, Christine and Valerie in Levack. When he is not busy with Legion business, John loves spending time with his four grandsons: Matthew, Noah, Ethan, and Ryan.
You may notice the initial M.B. after Johns name. In 2001, John was awarded the Medal of Bravery by the honourable Governor General, Adrian Clarkson. The life he saved was of his own daughter, Christine. While at a snowmobile rally in Sault Ste. Marie one rider lost control. John pushed Christine out of the way of the oncoming sled. He suffered two broken legs. He wears these letters proudly and is well deserving of such an award.
Thank you John for being such a valuable member to our community!