September is upon us. Another summer passed and another winter coming
What does this mean to Branch 13 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Terrace?
It means regular events that had been suspended for the summer return. Friday steak nights on the first Friday of every month resume in September as do regular monthly general meetings on the second Tuesday of every month..
The Legion in Terrace performs a valuable service to the community. Everyone is aware of the more public things we do.
The Legion family barbecue during Riverboat Days is always well attended and all those people recognize the work of the few volunteers that cook those burgers and dole out those pops. The annual Legion parade is also organized by a dedicated Legion member volunteer.
Legion steak night is another event familiar to many people in the community. This event has become so popular we have considered two seating’s to accommodate everyone. Steak night is shopped for, prepared and served by volunteer members.
Many people have attended memorial services in our branch. The preparation for these events, including seating, table removal, sound setups, and sometimes food is done by Legion member volunteers.
On Remembrance Day thousands of people turn out to the theatre and at the cenotaph for the services in memory of our fallen. Who coordinates and manages this event?
Who manages the poppy campaign leading up to this event? That’s right. It is the same small group of dedicated Legion member volunteers.
Many members of our community are helped in more direct ways by the Legion through funds for emergencies and grants from our poppy fund. This too takes volunteer effort on the part of the branch members and executive committee.
The day to day operations of the Legion are no different than those of any other business. We have a small number of paid staff but the rest of the functions including management, building maintenance; financial management, renovations etc are done by member volunteers.
All of this doesn’t even begin to include the many benefits we provide to Veterans and their families. We have a Legion service officer who is a direct liaison to Veterans Affairs to assist veterans in dealing with that federal agency.
We provide motorized scooters and wheelchairs for members and veterans in need. We provide grants to local agencies from our poppy fund for equipment and/or renovations that will assist seniors and veterans. Last year’s campaign by the REM Lee Hospital Foundation received a $10,000 donation from our poppy fund.
Again, all done by Legion member volunteers.
Sounds like a lot of work? Sound like a lot of volunteers?
The answer to question one is yes, it is a lot of work.
The answer to question two is yes, it takes a lot of volunteers. Unfortunately we don’t have them.
Would you believe me if I told you this was all done by a small dedicated group of approximately 10 people that includes some non-executive committee members. Would you believe me if I told you our branch is in real danger of losing these events due to volunteer burnout? You should believe me because it is true.
Things need to turn around for the Legion. Next year marks another milestone for the Terrace Legion history with the 60th anniversary Legion curling bonspiel. Dedicated volunteers have been organizing this event for 60 years. Will this event like so many other Legion sponsored and community beneficial events fall by the wayside due to lack of volunteer help.
Joining the Legion is a wonderful thing. It speaks volumes to the character of those who do so, as they adopt the goals of service of the Legion to both veterans and the community.
But simply joining is not enough. It will not fill the chairs of those volunteers needed to keep these events going. This takes work and that work takes committed volunteers.
Step up people! Get involved! Come out to our September 9th General meeting at the branch at 7 p.m. and see how you can help your Legion continue its long tradition of service in our community.
Your community needs you. Show us you care.
Ray Hallock, President,
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13,