Rooted in Service

Dr. Stanley Milner launches fund in memory of late wife in support of the ‘Alberta’ regiment

The South Alberta Light Horse Regiment traces its roots in this province to 1885. It was raised as a volunteer mounted unit known as the Rocky Mountain Rangers for service in the Northwest Rebellion in the region that subsequently became Alberta.

As Dr. Stanley Milner observes, “While the Rocky Mountain Rangers never fired a shot in anger during the few months of its existence, it did provide effective and highly mobile security to many settlements in the District of Alberta during a very challenging time in our nation’s history.

“This force, raised 133 years ago, is one of many Alberta units that are perpetuated, merged or have been amalgamated into the South Alberta Light Horse regiment,” says Milner.

Its long, proud history of service to this province, from those early formative days in the west to serving in the war in Afghanistan, is in part why businessman and philanthropist Milner has long supported the regiment, including serving as its Honorary Colonel for many years. His brother, Tom Milner, served in the regiment in Europe in the Second World War.

“It’s really the Alberta regiment, because of its history and its association with the province of Alberta,” says Milner. “It’s an old, old regiment. We want to keep it alive.”

Now, Milner has created the Lorraine Ginther Milner South Alberta Light Horse Memorial Fund in memory of his late wife Lorraine Ginther Milner, who died in 2014. She was a keen supporter of the South Alberta Light Horse Regiment Foundation – a charity that supports the regiment.

“We wanted to have a fund available in perpetuity in order to assist members of the regiment, who are part of the Reserve Army, and their families while the soldiers are deployed, as well as retired soldiers who may be in need,” says Milner. “Funds will also go to education for qualified serving and retired members of the regiment.

“As you look at the requirements of the soldiers, both young and older, education is absolutely essential,” Milner adds.

The South Alberta Light Horse regiment has squadrons based in Edmonton and Medicine Hat, as well as a troop in Lethbridge, and has about 140 soldiers in its ranks.

Since 1905, its badge has been the head of the pronghorn antelope, which is native to southern Alberta and known for its swiftness and keen eyesight, two key strengths demanded of light cavalry.

Despite its name, the regiment doesn’t own any horses, though it does use horses for ceremonial purposes. “They are basically an armoured regiment – the cavalry became tankers,” says Milner.

Milner is a fervent supporter of the military. “It’s an integral part of our society,” he says. “There’s an old saying, ‘He who wants peace, prepares for war.’ You’re never going to get away from conflict. The army is also used in all sorts of civilian emergencies, from forest fires to flooding, and is, of course, deployed overseas as the government sees fit.”

He hopes awareness of the new memorial fund will spur others in the community to set up funds in support of the Canadian military.