The Royal Canadian Legion is the largest veterans organization in Canada, numbering approximately 400,000 members from coast to coast, with a few branches located in the USA and Europe.
The legion now considers anyone who has served in the Armed Forces of Canada, regular or reserve forces, a veteran.
Fifteen years ago the legion opened up its membership to any member of the community who wished to subscribe to the aims and objectives of the legion and need not be related to an existing legion member or member or former member of the armed forces.
This person is considered an affiliate member, with all the rights and privileges of an ordinary member (one who has served in the armed forces, RCMP, firefighters, etc.) or an associate member (one who is directly related to a member of the armed forces, RCMP, etc.).
Branch 97 in Oliver has approximately 420 members and would welcome anyone into the branch. Come down to the lounge and fill out an application form from the bartender, or membership chairman, and along with cash or cheque for the 2013 dues ($22.50 for the balance of the 2013 calender year). The application has to be recommended by the branch executive and approved by a general meeting. On receipt of the membership card each new member must go through an initiation ceremony before being considered a new member.
Two-thirds of the dues are forwarded to the Dominion Command in Ottawa, who in turn distribute one-third of that amount to our local Provincial Command to help pay for programs undertaken by Command authorities.
The main program of the Royal Canadian Legion is the perpetuation of remembrance within our communities and providing assistance to our veterans and families as needed.
We also provide assistance to the youth of our community through financial donations to various organizations. Where possible, the legion provides direct support to a number of youth groups such as the local air cadet squadron, Youth Ambassador program and various school programs and bursaries for graduating students continuing on to post secondary education.
Ways in which the legion perpetuates remembrance among the youth of the community are through the Royal Canadian Legion Literary and Poster Contest, (held in November of each year) and the Candlelight Tribute held in May to remember those veterans who served their country but have since passed away.
The distribution of poppies within the community (the two weeks before November 11) is the main fundraiser for the Poppy Fund – this money is considered public trust money and the local branch must receive authority from the Provincial Command to spend any poppy money. This is the money that is used directly to support our veterans and help provide medical support when needed.
Special to the Chronicle