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Health issues force Port aux Basques bingo caller to take a step away

George Anderson has volunteered at the Royal Canadian Legion Port aux Basques Branch #11 for over 35 years.
George Anderson has volunteered at the Royal Canadian Legion Port aux Basques Branch #11 for over 35 years. - John René Roy Photo

George Anderson has been calling the game at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #11 for 35 years

Bingo night at the Royal Canadian Legion sounds a little different these days.

For the past 35 years George Anderson has dedicated himself to serving as a member of Legion Branch #11 in Port aux Basques, and for almost all of those he called the bingo games.

After he suffered a stroke in May, Anderson finally had to step away from it. Not that he had to step far. His house is just next door.

“We had slide cards and then they changed over to paper bingo,” recalls Anderson, who did the selling at the door before heading down to the basement to call the numbers.

Anderson worked with the town for over three decades prior to retirement.

“I was a mechanic, tractor operator,” he said. “Whatever they wanted done I jumped in.”

Anderson uses a cane to help him get around now, but nonetheless attended the Legion’s Remembrance Day supper to honour veterans and their families.

The Legion had discontinued this supper years ago, but the new Legion president, Pam Osmond, worked hard to resurrect it.

During the supper, the Legion members and honoured guests shared stories, treasures such as war memorabilia and recognized those in the community making a difference.

Osmond has been hard at work on other fronts too, like growing the Legion membership.

Anderson’s’s wife, Geraldine, used to be a member of the ladies auxiliary. About a month ago she joined the Legion herself, and says she is loving it. Just like her husband, Geraldine has been an active community volunteer for decades.

The couple has been married for 55 years.

“When we got married I was 16. He was 17,” says Geraldine. “He’s 74 and I’m 72.”

The couple have four sons and two daughters, although they tragically lost one daughter when she was still young. George says most of the kids are out west.

Like all grandmothers, Geraldine beams when talking about her grandchildren, though she can’t say for certain how many she has off the top of her head.

“I can’t count them, I’ve got that many. I’ve got seven great-grandchildren.”

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