The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 Veterans Cemetery has been shifting and changing this year thanks to a busy team of volunteers and donors.
Larry Miller, the chair of the project for the Legion, said they have finally completed the installation of a 24-chamber columbarium at the site. The first internment ceremony at the new structure was held on September 8 after long-time Legion volunteer Dennis Doyle passed away. The columbarium is reserved for veterans and Legion members.
Miller was joined by many volunteers throughout the year that made the project possible.
Many upgrades were done at the site beyond the new columbarium structure. Five more missing headstones have been placed and others that have sunk over the years have been fixed. A stone pedestal has been erected that thanks the many contributors to the project.
Miller said the projects were completed after the Legion received an $8,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust. Further donations streamed in from all over: The Cranbrook Garden Club contributed $500 to add more trees to the site. The sprinkler system has been upgraded to keep all the brand new trees watered and green through the year. Various contractors and businesses donated their time and services for the heavier work required.
The CBT grant allowed the Legion to update the Wall of Honour at Rotary Park with lettering and a few new names.
Miller said there were many donors, all of whom are immortalized on the new pedestal at the cemetery. They include Salvador Ready Mix, KMI Columbarium, Wilkinson Steel, Wayne Cockwell and Cranbrook Building Supplies. Those businesses supplied either their time or supplies to the project.
But nothing would have been done had a few notable residents not put pen to paper to support Miller and his team in the grant writing process. He said MP David Wilks, MLA and Minister for Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett and Mayor Wayne Stetski all contributed letters of support that allowed the project to be approved for the CBT grant.
As is tradition, Legion volunteers spent an afternoon last week placing flags on all of the headstones at the Veterans Cemetery to mark the lead up to Remembrance Day.