Legion a helping hand to the community

With Remembrance Day tomorrow, the Royal Canadian Legion will be busy focusing on paying tribute to veterans.

With Remembrance Day tomorrow, the Royal Canadian Legion will be busy focusing on paying tribute to veterans.

It’s important too to note the work that the Legion does in the community.

Recent news that the Kimberley branch has had to close and Grand Forks is in dire straits brings a focus to the organization.

In the last ten months, the Legion has given away $10,086 to 20 different organizations and individuals.

Legion president Doug Halladay said they are using savings a little bit, but are doing better than in the past few years.

“We keep hoping to bring in new members that will be actively involved in the Legion,” he said.

“We’re always looking for young people to get on the executive, bring in new ideas and make it a young people’s club instead of an old folks club. If they don’t, we’re eventually going to have to close because the guys like me are getting too old to do this. There’s not going to be anybody here to pick it up.”

Previously they didn’t run jam nights until about December or mid-November.

This year Halladay started them as soon as they opened in September and he said it has been going pretty well.

So what kinds of things does the Legion do for the community?

One is purchase certain medical equipment and loan it out to people in need.

Halladay said if someone goes into the hospital and needs a walker, or comes home and is on extended care, they can only get equipment from the Red Cross for so many weeks and have to turn it back in.

“When they have to return the Red Cross equipment we try supply them,” he said.

“Things like bathtub seats and walkers. If it’s someone who will need that equipment for the rest of their life then it just stays there until they don’t need it anymore.”

The Legion also does hospital and home visits for members who end up in the hospital or stuck at home because of medical issues.

They also co-ordinate visits with the Department of Veteran Affairs, out of Penticton.

“They look after all the veterans throughout the country, with their special needs,” he said.

One misconception that people seem to have about the Legion is that the government puts money into it.

“That’s not true. Each Legion in each town is responsible for its own activities and for paying its own bills,” he explained. “Legions have to operate like a business, so if they lose money than they eventually have to close.”

He also said that the Legion helps everybody, not just Legion dependents.

“If somebody in the community runs into trouble we’re always here to provide assistance of some sort if we can,” he said.