There are just over 200 members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 236 here in St. Marys. Those members should be very proud of what their branch has accomplished in the past year or so. The list of worthy local persons and organizations that received support from the branch is a lengthy one and includes the following: the Army Cadets, St. Johns Ambulance, St. Marys Minor Hockey, Boy and Girl Scouts Canada, St. Marys Youth Bowling, the St. Marys Memorial Hospital, the St. Marys Volunteer Fire Department, the local Salvation Army Food Bank, and the Town of St. Marys Skate Park.
The branch Poppy Fund issued more than 30 Christmas gift cheques to local veterans and veterans’ widows, and promptly responded to a handful of requests for assistance from veterans in need. The meals for approximately 30 veterans were paid for at the annual Veterans’ Dinner held at the branch. Vets were also assisted in applying for benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada, and local schoolchildren were awarded monetary prizes for winning local essay and poster contests dealing with Remembrance Day.
In addition, the branch annually donates funds to the Royal Canadian Legion Bursary Fund, the Charitable Fund and the Hospital Fund at the annual district convention. Money was also sent to the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial that was recently erected near Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
The sad fact is, however, that the vast majority of the local Legion’s membership is probably unaware of the accomplishments listed above. The reason for that is they choose not to attend the general meetings held on the third Monday of each month. The average attendance at a meeting is about a dozen people, which is not exactly a stellar turnout considering there are 200-plus members to draw from.
The next meeting will be held on Monday, April 15 and will be an especially important one. Elections will be held, and the membership will decide who will lead the branch for the next two years. That is not something that should be taken lightly. It would be a real benefit to the branch if there was a strong turnout to help ensure the right people are selected for the various positions.
Anyone who believes they should stay away in fear that they might be “railroaded” into a job themselves need not worry. If nominated, a member must accept the nomination and may decline if they so desire.
All members are urged to come out for the elections and to exercise their right to vote — a right that countless Canadian veterans fought for and sacrificed themselves to defend.
Service Officer, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 236 St. Marys