Courtenay Legion members are poised for the start of the 2013 Poppy Campaign beginning this Friday with the flag-raising at City Hall.
Mayor Larry Jangula, accompanied by army and air cadets, Legion president Dave Bell, and 2013 poppy campaign chair Frank Burden, will raise the flag at 5 p.m. to launch the annual drive.
The poppy campaign is a critical component in the Legion’s commitment to assisting veterans and their families in need and to assist with much-needed medical equipment most needed to treat patients during their later years.
The Courtenay branch also funds two $1,000 poppy bursaries to graduating students from G.P Vanier and Mark Isfeld secondary schools.
Local businesses are canvased throughout this week and poppy distribution trays and boxes will be located throughout the city and rural area beginning Friday.
Burden, also the service officer for Courtenay Legion Branch 17, says, “Being home to very many retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Comox Valley sees more requests for assistance than we can sometimes meet.”
In keeping with the Legion’s mission statement, the Branch assists not only veterans in need but also immediate family members following a veteran’s death. Those needs can range from anything such as providing assistance purchasing a medical device to help with an emergency dental bill that is beyond the individual’s means.
Who are those veterans?
The public perception of veterans is that of men in their 80s and 90s but in reality they can be men and women right across the age demographic. While the number of Second World War and Korea veterans is shrinking, new generations of ex-service men and women are out there and some turn to the Legion for assistance when the going gets tough.
Burden says that the Legion is dedicated to meeting those needs when they arise.
“Last year’s campaign raised just over $35,000,” says Burden, “and we ran out in early October.”
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A new flag-raising ceremony will happen in Comox at the same time Friday.
— Courtenay Legion