The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #260-100 Mile House secretary Rick Smale says the membership is going strong and theLegion canteen is open four days a week – Wednesday through Saturday, from 1 to 8 p.m.
The 180 members are in good standing and the volunteer efforts keep the important services — assisting veterans — keeping the canteen open for important social contact and camaraderie, he explains.
There are almost 100 previous listed members who have not yet paid their $52 annual fee, so Smale says the all-volunteerboard hopes many of them will renew their membership status.
This shows support to all the others who work hard to keep the Legion in operation and fundraising events going, he adds.
Today, even non-veterans can join the Royal Canadian Legion. Membership is open for anyone (ages 19-plus) providing they accept the code of requirements for membership and are initiated into their local Legion, he notes.
Smale says “there are more veterans here than one might expect,” with about 55 Legion members today who served in the military (some as rangers) and had an honourable discharges.
The remaining consist of affiliate members (with non-military backgrounds) and associate members (whose family members served), he explains.
Smale adds everywhere in Canada, all annual poppy campaign donations are used to support veterans and their families inneed.
This provides crucial assistance for veterans, the widows or widowers of those who died in service or have passed on since,and it also helps former soldiers who never went into active service, he explains.
Royal Canadian Legions provide crucial help to veterans in gaining federal and financial assistance, mental health support, funerals and burials, housing (including for homeless veterans), adapting to civilian life and other needs.
Outreach and visitation programs and other resources can help with things veterans and their families need, such as completing forms, youth education, links to services, and advocacy (such as for changing the New Veterans Charter).
Locally, Smale says, ad hoc requests for financial assistance also provide support for veterans who need temporary help, such as with paying rent when they suddenly end up in hospital and can’t manage their bills.
The past year’s support provided by the 100 Mile House Legion included purchasing an automatic external defibrillator (AED) unit to help equip its first-aid supplies for the many seniors and others who frequent the Legion.
“The money that we traditionally donate to the community comes out of our gaming trust account – which is the BC GamingCommission’s.
“Our weekly meat draw and 50/50 draws and raffles, which we also have a licence for, is how we donate to 100 Mile Festival of the Arts, Eclectica Community Choir, White Cane Club, Turkey Day [for local food banks], Pizza Day [for dry grad] … and we just donated $1,000 to the South Cariboo Health Foundation.”