Lorne Topley's son, Ryan, and grandsons, Austin and Mason, Unveil Cairn

Lorne Topley’s son, Ryan, and grandsons, Austin and Mason, Unveil Cairn

On June 24, 2014 The Lloydminster and District Fish and Game unveiled the Lorne Topley Memorial Cairn on the LDFGA property Northeast of Lloydminster, to honour 9 deceased lifetime members.

There are very few service clubs or volunteer organizations around Lloydminster that can boast 87 years of continuous operation like the LDFGA. It is because it is difficult to find and retain dedicated volunteers that share the same vision and commitment to upholding common ideals and values.

The Wildlife Federation mission is “to ensure the wildlife legacy that we leave to our children will surpass that which we have inherited.” We are very lucky to have such an inherently important mission that it attracts and motivates strong individuals to sacrifice their time and resources to fulfill this promise.

So it is that the LDFGA has been blessed with many dedicated individuals over the years that have all played a role in our accomplishments. Some of the most notable of these have been honored with Life Memberships in our organization – starting with the iconic Archie Miller in 1962. Archie was a charter member in 1927 when he and a few fellows started a club to help conserve and enhance the wildlife resource as well as develop their shooting skills. He was appointed the first secretary-treasurer of our organization and toiled for 42 continuous years in that role until he retired in 1969. It is notable in his letter of resignation that he says, “As of today, I have turned all my books and membership tickets over to Mrs. Donna Sheppard” – the same Donna Sheppard that it took us 40 years to confer honorary Life Memberships on her and her husband Brian for their extensive efforts. Archie ends his letter with, “I feel the pressure is too much and all I can wish is that progress is yours.”

In response the executive says, “We regret that you have resigned – we assure you that if it hadn’t been for you, this branch wouldn’t be here today. There is no one who has put as much time and work into the organization as you have. We want to let you know that your efforts will never be forgotten.” And we could virtually say the same thing to all of our Honorary Life Members.

So it wasn’t until last year with the passing of our esteemed Life Member, Lorne Topley, that we made a decision to fulfill this promise and recognize not only Lorne, but all our deceased Life Members. Each of these Life Members represent decades of dedicated service.

Some of our Life Members played leadership roles – such was the case with past presidents – Lorne Topley and Gordon Garner. Lorne was always dedicated to habitat retention, went to every Provincial Convention and meeting he could attend and was the first person to volunteer if a work bee was planned.

Gordon Garner is remembered for his role in guiding us with his organizational ability. He was involved in developing the road and the property that we are standing on today.

Howard Bygrove was involved from the early days, went to many conventions, and will be remembered for advocating for predator programs, especially crows and magpies – as he felt they were hard on duck populations.

We all know of Nick Fuchs’ prolific representation of wildlife species, which has been important in educating a multitude of people about conservation and wildlife.

Dave McGladdery and Les Leer were both tireless workers for the association, sold endless memberships, and seldom missed our meetings.

Peter Dribnenky was a master of salesmanship and fundraising for our club for decades. He spent hours in the mall selling raffle tickets and memberships.

Early records show Donna Sheppard was secretary for many years, and she was our strongest promoter for any of our events – and along with her husband, Brian – sold thousands of tickets and memberships over the decades.

Thank you to Larry Chambers for putting this together for us.