A better connection between RSA and its community is the goal for Te Awamutu’s new club president.
Pete Watson has taken over the role of president from new life-member and district councillor Lou Brown and is only the second non-service member to be elected to the role in the club’s 102-year history.
“When I was growing up, I used to go along to dawn services every year and as a teenager I was involved in the pipe bands that performed at the services,” he said.
“So, although I didn’t have the honour to serve, the RSA and service family have been a big part of my life and something that I have connected with since a young age.”
Watson has been a member of the club for just over 15 years, having been part of the executive committee for 10 of those and also has roles in a number of trusts and committees within the club.
“You could say I wear a lot of caps.”
He said that the culture of the RSA is starting to change with the club having struggled in the past to connect with young servicemen and families who are seen as the future of the club.
“We will continue to encourage the changing crowd and get the community move included in the club.”
He said renovations at the club had made it appear to be more inviting.
But while Watson will aim to adapt to the changing culture of the RSA, he said some things will never change.
“Every Friday night we will continue to have the ode said here and it’s something special when you hear it – everyone in the club standing in silence to remember, it just goes to show what the RSA means for this country.”
Huntly born and raised Watson has a career in the corrections industry and has also owned restaurants in Hamilton.
But nothing falters from his commitment to the club as he said with Anzac Day and any other big events, he tends to take time off work just to help out and get the club prepared these big days.
“I love this club and it’s been a big part of my life and will continue to be for many years to come.”