Opinion

Why Fernie's Legion needs to stay

It should be a relief to everyone in the valley, young and old, that the Fernie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will be staying open.

Some of you might not even know it exists, or that it is open to the public. In fact, the legion welcomes everyone, and by supporting the legion, you are helping them to continue supporting our community.

Before Christmas, The Free Press heard that the legion was struggling, due to lack of volunteers and may have to close.

The Fernie Branch #36 of The Royal Canadian Legion has been a cornerstone of the community since 1926. It honours all those in our community that have served in the military, especially with the parade and Remembrance Day service, but it goes much further than that.

The legion branch in Fernie supports important community groups including the Salvation Army, School Sports, the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation, Cadets, Camp Shiloh, Spinoza Bears for ill children, school sports teams and clubs and many more.

They can’t spend the money raised during their Poppy campaigns, meat draws or gaming events to stay afloat, as all that money has to go directly to those in need in the community.

It is only membership dues and participation of members that fund operations. Luckily, following an emergency meeting, 20 community members signed up to volunteer, keeping the legion open… for now. Keeping volunteers is extremely difficult. People aren’t often in a position to prioritise giving their time for free, however much they would like to.

It takes many volunteers to keep the legion up and running. Even if you can spare an hour or two a week, sign up. And become a member. The legion is one of the oldest and most valuable groups in our community. Help keep the legion in Fernie.

 

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