Volunteer salute – Larry Doshen

For about three years, until May 2012, Larry Doshen, 72, wrote for the Mainstreeter, sharing information on the activities of the Royal Canadian Legion Strathcona Branch with residents of Old Ottawa East.

“As I wrote more and more columns, it became easier to write but harder to find topics,” Doshen said, adding he enjoyed writing a story more than digging it up.

Doshen had no previous experience as a columnist. And yet, he had largely positive things to say about his time with the Mainstreeter.

Highlights included: working with editor Joseph Zebrowski, because of his leadership, and hearing from community members who gained information by reading his work.

“I’d like to think the folks in Old Ottawa East would have [greater] appreciation for the objectives of the Legion and know the Legion is open to all citizens, not just ex-military,” Doshen said, about the impact of his column.

“When he took over PR, he put the branch on the forefront in the Mainstreeter,” said Brian Madden, president of the legion branch, who worked alongside Doshen when the branch was in the midst of moving from a small home at 99 Greenfield Ave. in Old Ottawa East into a larger facility on Bank Street.

Doshen said finding topics he felt were of interest to the community was the most challenging aspect of his job. While preparing the column, Doshen volunteered for the Legion’s public relations, helping organize special events and prepare speeches. Madden described Doshen as “invaluable.”

“When we were in the middle of moving, he was very good at keeping us organized and everyone abreast of what was going on,” said Madden. “With the growth we had, his organizational skills were unbelievable.”

Doshen works part-time as an emergency preparedness consultant for The Zeta Group and lives in Alta Vista.

He was born and raised in Saskatchewan and attended the University of Saskatchewan before joining the Armed Forces. In 1980, he arrived in Ottawa for his final posting. His family liked the city and for that reason Doshen decided to stay. In 1995, he retired from the Air Force.

Following his departure, he remained active. Today, he is vice president of the Senior Citizens’ Council of Ottawa. Next year will be taking over the reins as president. He cycles and plays hockey with the Silver Foxes at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre.

Doshen said he is a “project-type” person: he derives motivation mostly by finishing a project at hand.

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