As Royal Canadian Legions across Canada celebrate Legion Week, from Sept. 19 to 25, members of the local legion have been replacing flags on the graves of veterans to ensure they look fresh.
Al Howse, long-time board and committee member of the legion, says this is the time of year to recognize volunteers doing the work of the organization, and thanking them.
It was also time for Branch 124 to elect a new board, replacing several members who have been serving in their positions for three years.
Over the past year, the local poppy fund raised $20,877.60. Of that, $2,223.19 was spent on youth education, $4,000 more went to the local Air Cadet Squadron, which supports the branch throughout the year, $11,824 was donated to veteran support, and $5,679.26 was spent on remembrance.
Last year, the branch received a New Horizons Federal grant to reach out to seniors inside and outside of our branch. The money was used to donate a refrigerator to Newark Neighbours so they can better supply fresh food. The outreach program is also visiting seniors at home, providing technical support, accessing the internet, and connecting them with non-profit groups for clothes and furniture.
Although the grant was only to fund one year of the program, Howse, chair of that outreach committee, says he hopes it will continue, although concentrating on visiting and other aspects that don’t requiring funding.
The recent news about lost children of residential schools spurred members to raise funds for the Niagara Regional Native Centre, with a donation made following a Canada Day fundraiser.
And although no decision has been made yet, plans are underway for this year’s November 11 service to honour those who did not return from fighting for their country.
There is a minimal plan being considered, depending on COVID restrictions, to be held at the Cenotaph, with the hope that a traditional ceremony will be possible, says Howse.
The legion is thanking all 200 businesses that allowed them to put poppy boxes on their counter to distribute poppies, and the many people who donated. Also, they say thank you to all who have continued to support their Thursday
“We sincerely hope for better times ahead; in the meantime we will ‘Soldier On,’” says Howse.