Reasons to be a part of the Royal Canadian Legion in Richmond

submitted by Brian Goss

FFirst off, perhaps you are saying to yourself, “Why would or should I join the Legion? “ The answer is taken from an article in the Stittsville News, November 2000.  What applies then is still true today only that Richmond is going to double if not triple in size and the chance to set the bar in community service is possible now.

It all begins at the Branch.  By joining the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), you will have the opportunity to make new friends, become involved in your community and develop and share your leadership skills.  You will help to perpetuate the Remembrance of those who gave so much for the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today, and the proud heritage of this great Canadian organization will be enriched by the enthusiasm, energy and new ideas that you bring to it.

Community Service.  You can serve your community by assisting with the many Legion programs in support of youth, seniors, the disabled and others.  The Legion also provides bursaries and scholarships to students from Secondary School to post-secondary and university levels and is the largest single supporter of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.  It is also a major supporter of sea, army and air cadets.

Leadership.  You will have the opportunity to grow within this great organization.  The Legion needs members who can take on the leadership challenge. If this is where your interests lie, you can become involved by serving on the branch executive.  You may even wish to go to higher levels such as zone, district, provincial or even the national level. Every Dominion President over the past 75 years started out as a branch member.

Social Activities.  Most branches have recreational facilities and may have licensed lounges.  Members can enjoy a wide variety of social events, such as dances, dinners, barbeques, entertainment and a host of other special events.

Member Participation Sports.  The Legion has sporting events such as darts, curling, cribbage and golf with competitions ranging from local, provincial to national levels.

Legion Magazine.  Your membership includes a subscription to the Legion Magazine which is published five times a year.  It contains articles on various topics including history, current events, and general interest stories, as well as keeping members up to date on the many and varied Legion activities.

SHOUT OUT FOR MEMBERSHIP

It`s no secret that methods of getting one`s message out is changing or has already changed.  We can no longer depend on the paper method of recruiting new members to our Legion. As a result, we are putting our message on the Richmond Hub, describing what the Legion is and does today.

Also, as with other service organizations we are aging, and membership is dropping.  To this end we are describing what the Richmond Legion is and how they are part of the Richmond and District community.  If the local Branch were to close, the many activities, donations, and sponsorships would also cease.

We wish to attract a younger presence, one more in line and knowledgeable with todays norms.  We have a vibrant Seniors Club and can accept new members and ideas. To that end we ask that you review our Branch Bulletin at richmondlegion.ca and consider membership in the Richmond Legion.

Richmond is growing, approximately 1000 new homes and we can be on the fore front of the community services.  I hope you will be a part of this.

Is it all Fund Raising at the Legion?

The prime reason for Fund Raising at the Branch is twofold.  

  1. First, we have the Poppy Drive dedicated to raising funds for Our mission which is to serve veterans and their dependents, promote remembrance and act in the service of Canada and its communities. This takes place each year in the Poppy Drive plus receiving personal donations throughout the year.
  2. Second is raising funds to help support local community organizations, seniors, youths and groups in need.

Now this is not all work as we have dinners, dances, BBQs, sports and comradeship meetings such as coffee hour, movies, cards and cater to private events such as receptions, birthday parties, and NFP meetings.

Ten years ago, a member, Becky Marr-Johnson, wrote the following – Service organizations that provide activities and events, and a focal place for the community at large, are the cement that holds a community together and gives it a heart.

Richmond Legion Branch 625 was formed 45 ago with approximately 20 members.  Most of its members were WWII era or Korean War ear veterans. Its stated purpose was and is per its Mission Statement – Our mission is to serve veterans and their dependants, promote remembrance and act in the service of Canada and its communities.

Today this branch has about 120 members.  A significant percentage are rarely seen.  A small percentage participate actively and consistently in positions and roles needed to keep the Branch and its activities up and running.

What do We Donate to and Who do We Sponsor?

The Branch, Ladies Auxiliary and Club 55 donate to the following organizations including donations to Provincial Command:

DONATIONS from Regular Activities

  • Ontario Provincial Command Branches and Ladies Auxiliaries Charitable Foundation – donations from Legion Branches amounted to over $15 million to various Hospitals, Health Clinics, Homes for the Aged and Charities in communities throughout Ontario.
  • Ontario Command Bursaries – donations from Legion Branches results in a total of 11,032 awards totaling over $5 million.  Each successful application is worth $750.00 and is not submitted by the local Branch but by the applicant.
  • Friends of Hospice – Richmond
  • Donations to local charities
  • Donations to local Community Projects
  • Ottawa Hospital Foundation – Example Heart & Stroke, Canadian Diabetes, and Kidney
  • Queensview-Carleton Hospital Foundation
  • Snowy Owls Cadets & Manotick Cadets and other Youth Programs
  • CAD Winter Sports Clinic
  • Seniors Christmas Dinner
  • Youth Education Public Speaking
  • South Carleton and Sacred Heart School Bursaries – three $1000 Branch Bursaries
  • In past years we have assisted the Richmond & Munster Soccer, Minor Hockey teams, T-Ball
  • Today our sponsorships have assisted the Ladies Slow Pitch team, Air Cadets, Army Cadets, and in the future, there are plans to establish a Junior Dart League.

DONATIONS from Poppy Funds

  • Grants for Ex-Service Personnel and their Dependants.
  • Money spent on Medical Equipment and Research – direct donation from Richmond Legion.
  • Money used for Seniors` Programs – not including funds spent on Veterans Programs.
  • Additional funds spent on Veterans Programs.
  • Provide funding for Provincial Service Bureaus.
  • Perley-Rideau Veterans Hospital – direct donation from Richmond Legion.
  • Additional Bursaries from Poppy Trust Fund were awarded in the amount of $666,000 as a result of donations from Legion Branches.  

Plans

There is a Long-Range Planning Committee with plans for the following:

  • Upgrade the outside of the Hall with sidings on the Front and East side.
  • Using the local hockey arena as a guide develop appropriate murals to be installed.
  • Turn the acre in the rear of the property into an Exercise Park suitable for all ages and Community use.
  • When Mattamy builds next to our property, we wish to connect to the sewer system.
  • Remove the septic tank and develop the West side of the building.
  • Wish is to develop a Facebook and Twitter account with experienced help.

APPRECIATION

This concludes a series of articles describing the Royal Canadian Legion. These articles were submitted to dispel the myths and/or misinformation about the Royal Canadian Legion and to describe the local Legion in Richmond.

Our appreciation goes out to the Richmond Village Association and the Richmond Hub for giving us the opportunity to submit the articles.  

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