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Posted: November 18, 2019

What does your Legion mean to Cranbrook and district?

First and foremost, the Royal Canadian Legion’s prime purpose is in support of our veterans.

Contrary to what many people might think, this not only includes supporting our very few remaining veterans from the Second World War, but also our veterans who have retired since then and have served in many deployments in trouble spots around the world.

Our branch in Cranbrook has its roots in the Great War Veterans Association founded in 1918 and in 1926 this became Branch #24 Royal Canadian Legion.

The most visible activity to most citizens would obviously be the holding of the ceremony at the cenotaph each Remembrance Day and the selling of the traditional poppies, but our branch is extremely active in many other areas of our town. These include but are not limited to major sponsorship of both the Air and Army Cadets, student Remembrance Day poster contest, East Kootenay Foundation for Health, Veterans Cemetery, Wall of Honour in Baker Park, etc.

In total our branch donates over $50,000 per year to worthwhile causes in our community.

Like many similar organizations, Legions across Canada are experiencing hard times and dwindling memberships.  A very strong, local example is the branch in Kimberley was forced to close several years ago.

While the total membership in the Cranbrook Legion remains strong, it is still going through some hard times of late.  The reason for this might surprise many people, but the fact is, the local branches receive a very small portion of the membership dues. Most of it goes to the provincial and Dominion Commands.

In addition to this, due to Lottery Commission regulations, the money raised through our various draws held at our branch, cannot be used for operating costs of our branch, but must go towards approved organizations.

To fund the operating cost of our branch, we are almost entirely restricted to the income generated by our club or beverage room and this has been declining steadily over the last decade or so. This is not unique to the Legion but can be seen by the amount of beverage establishments closing around our city.

So how do we save this important and venerable institution in our city?

Well, the first thing is to pay us a visit and it would be our pleasure to sign you in.

You will find a very friendly, safe and fun atmosphere with lots to do. Where else can you go with family or friends and get up and go to the washroom and leave your change on the table, or your good jacket on the chair and not have to worry about it being stolen? Where else can you go and enjoy free pool, free darts, free shuffleboard, fun meat draws, 50/50 draws, etc., etc.

One other important thing to note, is that contrary to common belief, you no longer must have a military connection to join the Legion.  Any and all are welcome.

Please join us in making sure that our local Legion survives in Cranbrook for generations to come.

Lead image: Branch #24 Royal Canadian Legion President Edith LeClair at the most recent Remembrance Day ceremony at Cranbrook’s Rotary Park and Cenotaph. e-KNOW file photo

Branch #24 Royal Canadian Legion

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