Every year, two or three weeks before Remembrance Day, the Poppy Campaign, on behalf of the Cranbrook Legion, goes out amongst the businesses in the area to gather support — in the form of sponsored wreaths. On Monday, November 6, Legion volunteers were out collecting to wreaths to return to the Legion’s Poppy Campaign office in the old Telus building on 11th Avenue South.
Once back at the office, those wreaths that have been on display at the businesses for the past few weeks will be tagged with each supporting business name, and made ready for the Remembrance Day ceremony and parade, when they will be placed at the cenotaph at Rotary Park.
Clive Brown, co-chair for the Cranbrook Poppy Campaign for the past seven years, told the Townsman that last year the campaign raised around $50,000. This year the cadets and volunteers raised nearly $13,000 in the first two weekends with poppies and they have hundreds of poppy boxes distributed around the community in various businesses. The funds from those are collected the Monday and Tuesday following Remembrance Day.
“Our number one role and it always has been the number one role is to support veterans in need,” said Brown who explained that the money raised from the sponsorship of the wreaths and the purchase of poppies goes towards a trust fund that is set up to assist veterans in need and their families.
“And a veteran is a veteran whether they live on the east coast of Canada or the West Coast or anywhere in between,” said Brown. “If a veteran needs assistance or his immediate family, and they qualify for that assistance they can apply to any legion and once they qualify then funds will be available to help them.”
Money in the trust fund is used for purchasing wheelchairs, or helping to make a home more wheelchair accessible, donated to the cadets in Cranbrook and to the hospital, among many other things.
Next year the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its formation in Cranbrook. This year — the 99th — the parade takes place Saturday, November 11 at 10:30 a.m., commencing in front of the Byng Hotel. The parade wends its way down 10th Avenue South towards Rotary Park, where the service at the cenotaph will take place, starting just before 11 a.m.