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Local Family Honours Their Mother In A Unique Way

In 2010, the LaValley family decided to renovate the basement of the Legion Hut – all in the name of their mother and grandmother, Emilia LaValley.


In order for the entire LaValley family to be able to gather in one place, they often utilized the Legion “Hut” for their functions. During their 2009 Christmas celebration, Eldon Cissell suggested that if the basement was renovated, then all the children could have their own space to have fun and the adults could entertain each other on the main floor. The idea was well received and Monty & Katherine Cissell and Travis & Lianne LaValley volunteered to spearhead the project. Family members were organized into “crews” and the work commenced in January 2010. At that point, the basement was basically an unorganized storage space as was the crawl space under the addition that had been built in 1978. Walls were ripped out and a few Legion members went through what was stored downstairs and the end result was three truckloads of debris going to the dump. A list of supplies was drafted, materials were purchased and new walls started to go up by January 22. The “sump pump” area was brought up to code and cement was poured to level out the floor. Paneling was installed on the walls and ceiling, insulation was put in place and the electrician in the family, Charmaine, wired the basement.

Lunch was provided by family members to all those working. By the middle of February, the basement area was ready for carpet. While going through what was left in the crawl space, a large map of Alberta dated 1923 was found. As it was made out of a linen/canvas material and was in surprisingly good condition, Monty took it home, cleaned it up and framed it. It is a wonderful conversation piece that now hangs proudly on the wall of the basement.

By March 6, 2010, the project was complete and the family members celebrated their accomplishment. It was truly a family endeavor with more than 190 hours of labour and expertise going into the renovations. The Legion covered some of the material costs.
Katherine Cissell commented on Emily’s first visit to the Hut after the renovations:

“Grandma, if you are wondering why we brought you out here today, it’s because you have a great family that pulled together to do a little something for the Community in your honour that we wanted to share with you. We all realized that the Legion is a symbol of accomplishment and strength in your life and we wanted to do something to preserve that symbolism by making the “Hut” a more usable space for both our family and the Community to enjoy.”

Emily’s 90th birthday in 2012 was celebrated at the Legion Hut. She was a remarkable woman whose dedication to the West Smoky Legion No. 244 was recognized and honoured in a very special way by her family

Written by Wanda Zenner Reference

Information and photos provided by Katherine Cissell

Map photo by Wanda Zenner