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  Relief Society Anniversary Gatherings.


Honourary Consul General Ilmar Heinsoo and wife Margot.

Honourary Consul General in Toronto Ilmar Heinsoo and wife Margot
at the Society's 10th anniversary - 1979.

  30-Year Anniversary - 1999

"EWIRS 30th Anniversary"

Meie Elu - November 24, 1999.
Author - "m"

Copyright © Eesti Elu.  Used with the very kind permission of Eesti Elu newspaper.
Coloured photos have been added and did not appear with the original article.
Translated by Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec


On Sunday, November 14th, the Estonian War Invalids Relief Society (EWIRS) held its30th anniversary concert assembly together with a fashion show and dinner.  This noble and popular organization's anniversary celebration brought together a hall full of fellow countrymen.  The even'ts guest speak was Vello Ederma from Washington.  Soprano Õnne Laikve and baritone Avo Kittask sang at the event's musical portion.  Accompanying them on the piano was Asta Ballstadt.  Soprano Elle Laikve sang later as a surprise.  The stage was tastefully decorated by Ene Migur and the program was desgined by Hilda Truupere.  Helgi Sooaru was the emcee.  


Helju Salumets, Vello Ederma and Helgi Sooaru.

Helju Salumets Vello Ederma Helgi Sooaru



Very informative opening remarks were made by Helju Salumets.  She greeted all honourary guests, gave Ilmar Heinsoo get-well wishes and presented  short synopsis of 30 years of work by the EWIRS.

"The EWIRS grew from the Toronto Union of Estonian Fighters ladies guild on the 21st of January in 1969 with its own Constitution and Bylaws.  The first Chairwoman elected was Lisanne Vaher.  Lotteries and fashion shows were organized - funds were raised. 

Our war invalids primarily settled in Germany.  The Injured War Veterans Home had just been completed in Schönaus.  This is where we directed our funds in support of the house fund and to bring Christmas cheer to the veterans' children and families.  Our generous hearts and helping hands helped to uphold the men's morale and knowledge that they had not been abandoned.   

Now, when the Schönau house has been sold, no-one knows what became of the money from the sale.   There has also been no mention of this in any newspaper.  Why is there this silence?  The house had been built with society funds.  Maybe we must ask louder, where has the money from the sale been directed?  According to our knowledge these [monies] these were suppose to go to the Tallinn Injured Veterans Association.  It would be good if those with knowledge would advise the newspapers in order to avoid misunderstandings. 

The Injured Veterans Corporation was in Geislingen and the war blind in Lübeck.  The war blind were in worse shape and their "life candle" burnt out tragically.   

Funds sent to Germany over the years were $72,000.

After Estonia's independence  we had a warm relationship with the executive of the Injured Estonian Veterans Association in Tallinn, to whom we have sent support of approximately $25,000. The Society has been generous and warm-hearted, however, the Estonian government has yet to appropriately honour and help their injured veterans.  

Support has also been given to our local organizations like the Toronto Estonian House, youthwork, freedom fighters, our elderly at Ehatare, Estonian Consulate, children's summercamp, etc., together in the amount of $30,000.  Perhaps you think we are rich?  We have sent help to those in need and that is our wealth.  The Lord above has given us noble goals and a togetherness to help those who so deserve.  Thanks belongs to you who have valued our work -- in the forefront the National Estonian Foundation [Eesti Sihtkapital Kanadas] who is our Society's godfather.  

The Society's 30 years of work was on the walls of the hall in the form of 145 enlarged photos and thank you letters.  Thank you to Emil Eermele who reviewed and approved the photo display.

Honourary and founding members.

Thanks belongs to all Society members who have given their all over 30 years.   The Society still have four founding members and one honourary member:  Marta Tiido--founding and honourary member; Eevi Moks--the Society's lifelong treasurer; Irje-Ann Philberg and Leida Roosimäe."  

The found founding members were called to the stage and presented with a flower.

EWIRS founding members, from the left:  
Marta Tiido (honourary member), Eevi Moks, Leida Roosimäe, Irje-Ann Pihlberg and Chairwoman Helju Salumets.
Photo:  Siegfried Preem


Õnne Laikve.Soprano Õnne Laikve was accompanied by Asta Ballstadt on piano and presented two songs:  "Varsakabi" by P. Ardna and K. Türnpuls "Üks ainus kord"  Bariton Avo Kittask, also accompanied by Asta Ballstadt presented "Sügislinnule" by T. Vettik and "Ma näen" by S. Purre.

The guest speaker, Vello Ederma, was introduced by Helgi Sooaru.

Vello Ederma  began his speak with humour stating that if his speech is too short, then it is apparent that the speaker doesn't know what to speak about, and if a speech is too long, then the speaker in his ignorance simply spins and repeats his words.  (The speech will appear in print in the near future.)

Following Vello Ederma's speech, Õnne Laikve, accompanied by Asta Ballstadt on piano, presented two more songs:  A. Scarlatti's "O cessate di piagarmi" and C. Saint-Saensi's "Mon Coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" from the opera "Samson and Delila" and bariton Avo Kittask presented "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from G. Gounod's opera "Faust" as well as "Largo al factotum" from  G. Rossini's opera "Sevilla habemeajaja".  After applause from the public, he further sang P. Tammeveski's "Üks ainus õis" and together with Õnne Laikve a duet "Tallinn, mu kodulinn".

For enjoyable performances, Õnne Laikve, Asta Ballstadt and Avo Kittask were presented with beautiful bouquets of roses by organizers of the event.


Helgi Sooaru read written greetings from the Honourary Consul General Ilmar Heinsoo which was followed by personal greetings from: Raimond Tralla--Estonian Fighters Association in Canada;  Ülo Tamre--Estonian war invalids; Endel Reinas--Estonian Officers Assembly in Canada; J. Vihma--County Representative Assembly; Osvald Piil, with an armful of roses on behalf of the Toronto Estonian House and Raffi Moks with an envelope from the Toronto Estonian Fighters Association.  Written greetings, read by Helgi Sooaru, were sent by cross of cavalry Harald Nugiseks and the Estonian Injured Veterans Assocation in Tallinn as well as the EWIRS first Chairwoman Lisanne Vaher.  Greetings had also been sent by EKKT Chairwoman Mai Järve and later Lembit Joselin personally on behalf of the Toronto Estonian Chess Club.



Fashion Show models.

Fashion show models.
From the left:  Cherene Bajin, Gaby Bajin, Tiiu Bayko, Tiina Kaunismaa-Thomas, 
Merike Leigna, Elle Laikve, Anne Pajuäär, Ene Migur and Elva Palo.
Photo:  Siegfried Preem


A short fashion show followed with 13 models.  The emcee was Helju Salumets.  Models included:  Helve Arro, Cherene Bajin, Gaby Bajin, Tiiiu Bayko, Tiina Kaunismaa-Thomas, Merike Laigna, Elle Laikve, Ann Pajuäär, Ene Migur, Elva Palo, Valve Tali, Lea Vares-Greenwood and Ellen Valter.

All models earned a rose and praise from the Chairwoman. 

Vice Chairwoman thanks guests -1999. As a surprise after the fashion show, Elle Laikve sang two pleasantly performed songs accompanied by Asta Ballstadt on piano.  The first was a French tune and the other Italian.

The final comments were by EWIRS Assistant Chairwoman Ene Paulus, who thanked all performers of word and song, all models, Ene Migurit for her pretty stage decor, The National Estonian Foundation for their worthy birthday present and all Society members who helped with the anniversary event.  A special thank you was expressed to the Chairwoman with a large bouquet of roses.

Right:  Assistant Chairwoman  Ene Paulus thanks event attendees.


According to the program, the current Executive of the Society includes:  Helju Salumets--Chairwoman;  Helgi Sooaru--Assistant Chairwoman; Ene Paulus--Assistant Chairwoman; Eha Lupp--Secretary; Eevi Moks--Treasurer; Heljo Puldre--Purser; Heli Härm and Aino Laanep.


Executive members - 1999.

Executive Members.
First row from the left:  Helgi Sooaru and Helju Salumets
Second row: Helju Puldre, Eevi Moks, Ene Paulus, Eha Lupp and Heli Härm.


Following grace by Pastor Jaan Nuga, a roast pork dinner by Enno Õunapuu was served at the end of the program.

In summary it can be said that this EWIRS anniversary event was very well planned and executed and went off without a mistake.  No criticism can be made of emcee Helgi Sooaru.  Therefore, praise for our Society's Toronto ladies! 


Society Members - 1999.

Society Members ~ 1999.

Seated at front from the left:  Irje-Ann Pihlberg (founding member) and Eha Lupp.
1st row from the left: Heli Härm, Ene Paulus, Helgi Sooaru, Helju Salumets (Chairwoman), 
Leida Roosimäe, Marta Tiido (founding and honourary member), Heljo Puldre and Eevi Moks (founding member).
2nd row:  Ann Pajuäär, Marianne Lank, Helle Kreem, Leida Reinas, Leida Randlepp, Aino Mitt, 
Hilda Truupere, Alvine Toots, Miili Vooglaid, Juta Kübarsepp, Helma Jürima, Aino Virkus and Oldi Põder.



Õnne Laikve and Avo Kittask - 1999.

Õnne Laikve and Avo Kittask were soloists.  Asta Ballstadt on piano.


Aksel and Helju Salumets put up photo display - 1999.

Aksel and Helju Salumets prepare the photo display. 


Anniversary guests - 1999.

Anniversary guests.


Fashion show models.

Merike Laigna - 1999.

Merike Laigna


Helve Arro - 1999.

Helve Arro


Tiina Thomas - 1999.

Tiina Thomas

Elle-Mai Laikve - 1999.

Elle-Mai Laikve



Endel Reinas, Endel Sooaru, Helgi Sooaru and Vello Ederma - 1999.

From the left:  Endel Reinas, Endel Sooaru, 
emcee  Helgi Sooaru and guest speaker Vello Ederma.






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