Lest we forget our legions

Looking around at store displays, our neighbours’ homes and even the pages of this paper, it may appear that much of the Parksville Qualicum Beach region used Remembrance Day as a set of starting blocks to launch into the 2017 Christmas season.

But, lest we forget, the area’s Royal Canadian Legion branches do not simply close down operations on Nov. 12. Short of calling for a false start on the sprint toward Dec. 25, perhaps we could at least spare a bit of remembrance for the work that legion and auxiliary members do for the local communities throughout the year.

Members of the Canadian Legion branch 49 in Parksville, branch 76 in Qualicum Beach and branch 211 in Bowser take charge, of course, of our various commemorations of Canada’s military and historical achievements, including Remembrance Day, Canada Day, the Battle of the Atlantic, Robbie Burns Day and more.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Through largely volunteer efforts, legion members raise money that provides scholarships and bursaries to local students. Legion fundraising generates thousands of dollars for an extensive roster of non-profit and volunteer societies, who, in turn, benefit a wide swath of residents.

In 2010 alone, for example, the tiny legion branch in Bowser distributed cheques totaling $52,965 to 39 different organizations. They covered nearly every age group and segment of society, from cadets and Special Olympians, to fire departments and search and rescue teams, to hospital foundations and stroke recovery support, to seniors housing and senior athletes.

What legions are not collecting to the same degree they once did is members. Every year the volunteers seem to get a bit older, and a bit fewer in number.

If you’re unable or unwilling to sign up, consider at least dropping by a local legion hall for a pint, a pool game, or an entertainment event.

During certain times of the year you can enjoy a pancake breakfast by morning, and try your chances in a meat draw by evening.

By all means, get back into the race toward Christmas and the “season of giving.” Your local legion members will continue to observe that season as a year-round event.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Update: Highway 19A reopened north of Qualicum Beach

Road will re-close for paving beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday

Parksville council OKs provisional budget

$5,000 grant to museum added to 2018 budget

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Parksville Museum society board inherits financial shortfall

New executive sworn in during contentious AGM

Drunk driver ticketed after wrong-way rollover

Nanaimo man crashes on Inland Island Highway near Qualicum Beach

Moonlight Madness hits Qualicum Beach

Annual event featured Santa, Christmas tree lighting

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

Falvai Creative sets sights on canine Christmas present

Qualicum Beach couple sells first advent calendar to Earl Spencer — Princess Diana’s brother

Nearly no colour for winter-themed show in Qualicum Beach

Painters, photographers, wreath-makers to fill TOSH with art for Almost Black and White

Question of the Week, Nov. 21

Poll: Do you have a charity that you give back to?

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Most Read