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Call out for young veterans, poppy sales help vets of all ages, homeless shelter for local vets in the works

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 10th, 2015

The Castlegar/Robson Branch 170 of the Royal Canadian Legion is reminding young veterans that the Legion and al its celebrations and programming are there for them, too.

“We’re not an old boys’ club, we’re here for all veterans, and we’d love it if they came down and participated, or even just to meet them,” said Bob Brommeland, Legion treasurer and co-chair of the poppy drive. “We have about 50 (local) Legion veterans, but there are quite a few veterans in the community we’d love to meet. There are only a few left who served in the Korean and Second World Wars, but there are many who served in Bosnia, Croatia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and in peace time, too.”

He also pointed out that RCMP members are considered Canadian veterans and can (and hopefully will) join the Legion with full veteran status.

“They are put in harm’s way just about every day of their careers,” he said.

He said the stereotype of the Legion as an antiquated gentleman’s club is grossly outdated, and that a lot of Legion programming is hugely relevant to younger veterans – a perfect example being the use of legion poppy funds.

“This year, same as last, the people of this community have been more than generous,” he said, adding they are just now breaking the $14,000 mark. “I’m sure, by the time are the boxes are in and the money counted, we’ll break $15,000, just like last year.”

He said the money is the property of the citizens of this community, and is distributed accordingly by the Legion on the community’s behalf.

“It can only be used for veterans, or veterans’ support,” he said. For example, they can help a struggling vet with personal needs, this year they were able to install a handicapped lift to make the Legion facility accessible to all physical ability ranges, and they help out the local air cadets with funding and scholarships. “

He said they also help with veteran transition assistance (accrediting military skills like mechanics so they translate to jobs in the private sector), PTSD programming and assistance including service dogs trained to provide support – even housing for homeless veterans.

“A lot of young veterans are struggling to make the transition and can’t find jobs, so they end up homeless,” he said. “Glenn Hodge, vice-president of the BC/Yukon Command, has said we’ll have a shelter for homeless veterans in Trail (to serve the entire West Kootenay). There’s a need for that here in Castlegar, in Trail, in Nelson. Throughout the region we serve.

“The house is pretty well secured, now they’re doing some work on it, getting the rooms ready,” he said.

He also made it clear that it’s not just veterans and their families whom the Legion is encouraging to be at local ceremonies tomorrow – he hopes anyone and everyone shows up, shares in the day and the memories. He said it’s a great day to get to know your veterans and really gain an understanding of what all the fuss is about.

“I find Canadians, for the most part, don’t brag about this stuff,” he said. “We did our duty and, for the most part, we’d like to leave it at that. The veterans don’t talk much about it. But, this one day of the year, they remember.”

He said he hopes you will, too, and invites everyone to participate, enjoy the camaraderie, and share in this important Canadian day celebrating service.

For more information about the schedule of events, please click here.

Categories: General

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