Providing a place of support

My Nikkel's Worth column

The Weyburn branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has begun something which I think is a great idea, and hopefully it will continue to develop in the coming months.
The Legion will hold a special social time for veterans, along with those who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces (such as with peacekeeper forces), or with the police (RCMP or city police) or the fire department.
This will be held on the fourth Monday of every month, and it’s a way to provide fellowship for veterans, including free transportation to and from the Legion Hall.
I popped in to see the first gathering for this new program on Monday at the Legion in the SSR Lounge — appropriately enough, the lounge is named in honour of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, the storied regiment of soldiers that was based here in Weyburn during the Second World War.
There were enough respondents who came out to fill three of the large round tables in the lounge, and some of them had to be brought in specially for this gathering.
This is where the Care-A-Van comes in, as they will provide a free ride for anyone who needs transportation, as long as they are called ahead of time.
The idea for this new program came from the Legion’s chaplain, Marj McLeod, who pointed out that the original purpose of the Royal Canadian Legion was exactly this, to provide a place for veterans of war and of armed services to meet and have fellowship, and thereby to have support for each other.
As memberships in Legions are dropping pretty well all across Canada, this is exactly the sort of idea that is needed, to ensure that those who have served our country in wartime, with our Armed Forces, or with any sort of emegency response force, have a place where they feel welcomed and can have fellowship with each other.
This took me back to an earlier time, as I recalled the Legion being a place exactly like that in years gone by. My dad is an Air Force veteran (26 years) and after he retired from service, he was very much involved with the Legion.
I recall visiting him on occasion at the Legion Hall, and it was always a very busy place, although the air there tended to be a bit thick as smoking was still allowed at that time.
It would seem that as we lose more and more veterans of the Second World War, Legion branches need to kind of reinvent themselves and provide options for people to want to come there. Having a time for those who have served in capacities other than just in wartime is a good idea, because we have many men and women who are police officers or in the fire department or EMS who might just like such a place to come to.

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