Poppy campaign fast approaching
Turner Valley: Legion kicks off veteran fundraiser at Oct. 27 ceremony
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 09:28 am
Citizens will once again show their support for war veterans by donning red poppies over the next two weeks.
The Royal Canadian Legion Turner Valley Branch #78 is kicking off its poppy campaign with municipal government representatives at a ceremony at the Legion cenotaph at 1 p.m. on Oct. 27. The ceremony will follow the first presentation of the poppy to the Governor General in Ottawa and to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta earlier in the week.
Once the ceremony is complete, poppy boxes will be distributed to businesses and schools throughout Millarville, Priddis, Red Deer Lake, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and Longview to collect donations until Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, said Linda Macaulay, poppy chairperson and first-vice president of the Legion.
Last year’s campaign raised about $17,000, which went into a trust fund governed by strict rules, said Macaulay.
“We provide immediate assistance to veterans and their families in financial need,” she said.
This includes bursaries for children and grandchildren of veterans who are pursuing post-secondary schooling, in-care costs for elderly and disabled veterans, medical costs and equipment, emergency situations like the 2013 flood and programs like Meals on Wheels, drop-in centres and transportation for veterans, said Macaulay.
Comrade Gordon Day said a service officer with the Legion looks into the needs of the approximately 100 veterans in the area. Many fought in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and peacekeeping efforts.
“There are quite rigid rules about how it’s spent,” he said. “It has to be directly related to a veteran. Our service officer got one of our veterans off the streets and into an apartment and got him medication, which he didn’t have before.”
The iconic red flower symbolizes the sacrifices of men and women in war and peacekeeping missions and its presence is proof of the public’s support of vets, said Macaulay.
“People are very generous,” she said. “I’m very surprised when we start the count and I look at what’s in the trays. It’s not nickels and dimes, we’ve had $100 bills, $50 bills, lots of $20s.”
Macaulay attributes the generosity to an informed public.
“People are focused on what’s happening now, the conflicts overseas and what our current military is doing and their place of service,” she said. “There’s been a lot on the news with this being the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. It was the turning point for Canada. After the success at Vimy Ridge, Canada was recognized as its own country.”
Citizens can also show support by becoming a volunteer at the Legion.
Macaulay joined the Legion eight years ago. Her father served in the Second World War and her grandfather fought at Vimy Ridge.
“We’re always looking for people to join the Legion as a member and support the efforts in the Legion for veterans in the community,” she said. “You don’t have to be in the military to join.”