For Robert McKend, joining the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #402 was a family tradition, and one he is proud to continue.
His father Richard led the way, serving in the military during WWI, and his two brothers spend their careers in the Canadian Navy and Airforce arms of the Canadian Armed Forces. Robert chooses to serve as a volunteer on the Board, working in the community with his friends and neighbours through an organization with an honourable tradition.
With its origins in the armed forces, the Canadian Legion history of serving veterans is recognized across the country, and in particular during the month of November when volunteers remind us of the debt of gratitude we owe our veterans through the sale of poppies. This organization’s mission of services extends beyond Veterans, military and RCMP members and their families and promoting Remembrance. This organization’s service extends beyond to include support for and other local service organizations striving to keep this country strong and proud.
Like most service organizations these days the Legion is suffering from volunteer fatigue. With only one part-time staff member, the organization relies on an extensive group of volunteers catering events, hosting social activities and keeping their aging building in good repair.
Legion members host activities to raise funds for those in need, responding to the unique situations in their community. Traditions like the Rubber Duck Race on Canada Day and their Share the Wealth ticket sales at Peterborough Speedway provide funds which are redirected to veteran organizations including Wounded Warriors, homeless support organizations and Bursary funds, among others.
As is the case in many small communities, the local Legion Hall represents a central venue for community social gatherings. Our own local legion, Branch 402, with its central location, is a popular place for events for local community groups and hosts regular events appealing to all ages. From business meetings, memorial dinners and special celebrations, the Legion members are happy to open their doors.
Among the youth activities supported by the Millbrook Legion are the annual Public Speaking competition and the Remembrance Day art competition where students create posters to honour the service of our Armed Forces. The Legion also supports youth leadership programs and activities such as Cadets, Scouts and Guides, and youth sports, helping strengthen their members’ leadership and growth. In return, you will see members of these youth groups selling poppies outside local businesses over the next few weeks.
The annual Poppy Campaign is a fundraising activity for the organization but exists primarily to ensure that we never forget the importance of honouring past sacrifices and to acknowledge the courage of those who served and still serve today. By hosting Remembrance Day ceremonies, commemorative activities and youth education programs, 1,400 Legion branches across the country help Canadians honour and remember.
Legion members invite you to join them at any of their many activities in their Hall, which include Darts, Euchre, Pub nights, turkey rolls and Sunday afternoon Jamborees. Above all, they would ask you to join them this month of Remembrance as they stand beside Veterans and their families, offering appreciation and support for their remarkable service. Lest We Forget. KG