A BRIEF HISTORY OF BRANCH # 18
Many branches started off strong then faded as members left rural areas to look for work. The history of this urban branch is one of starting slowly (established on November 11, 1947) then gaining strength as the combatants seeking work moved into the city. Initially, the branch rented space from the Polish-Canadian Association.
The branch quickly became involved in the Polish community. Besides organizing the traditional national and military anniversaries, social and charitable events, the branch helped the Polish Sunday School financially and, thanks to its efforts, brought a Polish priest to Calgary, allowing a Polish parish to become established in the city. At Easter, branch members would stand guard at Christ's Tomb and would erect the altar for the Corpus Christi feast.
Relations with other veterans' organizations were friendly, so much so that the branch was able to use the premises of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Navy Veterans Club when needed.
By 1961, the branch had its own colours which were consecrated on August 13th in front of some 400 people, among them members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Combatants Credit Union was registered on December 12, 1957. Initially, it had only 22 members and was open to branch members, members of the Association of Poles and parishioners of the Polish church. As a new financial institution, the Credit Union had to overcome the initial mistrust of the community. However, when at the end of the fiscal year it paid out 4% interest on deposits, this mistrust vanished and membership increased.
In 1962, the branch established a Youth Section and in 1963, a Women's Auxiliary was formed. In 1964, the branch purchased its own building and, with renovations completed, the official opening was celebrated on December 30, 1964. By May of 1969, following further renovations, the library was opened.