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BLE International President Clarence Monin and BLE Canadian Director Gilles Hallé attended the annual retirement banquet for members of Division 583 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the largest division in Western Canada.
It marked the first time that both the International President and Canadian Director attended the banquet.
The 49th annual retirement banquet was sponsored by Division 583 and held in honor of eight retiring members Wayne Martin, Tony Natyna, John McMillan, Walter Wychenko, Albert Krakalovich, Harry Harapiak, Phil Killeen and Gord Lang.
The invited guests of honor (standing) and the "retiring" Division 583 officers take time out from the festivities for a picture. Seated, from left, Secretary-Treasurer J. Beaulieu; President G. Klips; and Local Chairman Ray Lussier. Standing, from left, Canadian National General Chairman Michael W. Simpson; BLE International President Clarence Monin; and BLE Canadian Director & Vice-President Gilles Hallé.
In addition, it was a semi-retirement party for the division's top three officers all are retiring from union service but are continuing to work for the railroads. President G.W. Klips, Secretary-Treasurer J.P. Beaulieu and Local Chairman Ray Lussier were also honored at the banquet.
The eight retirees were escorted into the ballroom by a company of bagpipers and presented with commemorative locomotive models (see photo below).
Joining President Monin and Canadian Director Hallé at the banquet was Canadian National General Chairman Michael W. Simpson.
"It was quite an honor to have them all in attendance," said Brother Lussier. "It meant a lot to me personally to have them there."
Brother Lussier reported that he took President Monin to meet every single person in attendance.
"Brother Monin is such a down-to-earth president," Lussier said.
He pointed out that Division 583 is losing a lot of experience with the retirement of it's three top officers. Brother Lussier has 33 years of experience, Brother Beaulieu has 31 years and Brother Klips has 30 years.
"It was a great moment for me to have the International President in attendance," Lussier said. "It was a great honor." ·
These model locomotives were presented to the retiring members.
The retirees and their spouses are escorted into the ballroom by a group of bagpipe players.
BLE Canadian Director Gilles Hallé spoke to the members and families attending the banquet.
Division 583 Secretary-Treasurer Beaulieu and President Monin inspect the division's historical memorabilia displayed during the banquet.
From left: Division 583 Secretary-Treasurer Beaulieu; Division 583 President Klips; and International President Monin.
BLE Canadian National General Chairman Michael W. Simpson
President Monin has a brief discussion with the pipe band.
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