Since its establishment in 1927, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 5 situated in Donkin, N.S., has fulfilled its solemn duty of serving veterans and its community. However, the march of time has been relentless, with evident signs of wear becoming a fixture in the building’s facade. The legion faces the additional challenge of maintaining the building due to its waning membership.
The venerable building, one of the original branches that sprung up after the tumultuous World War One, is grappling with the need for extensive renovations, states Tanya Clements, the Second Vice President of Branch 5 Legion. Not long ago, the building underwent a significant roof repair following damage inflicted by Hurricane Fiona. Inside, the legion mirrors the outside, with much of the flooring begging for replacement, walls craving for additional insulation, and various other elements requiring upgrades.
Clements retains a ray of hope as the following week will see six or seven new members enlisting into their ranks. She fosters the aspiration that more community members will rally beside them in their effort to conserve and restore the historically important facility.
“The veterans fought for our safety and freedom. The least we can do is embody their spirit, keeping this legion operational as a testament to their courage. Their sacrifice illuminated our path, and in their honor, we are here and safe,” Clements passionately voiced.
In an inspiring turn of events, the legion earned support from an unexpected quarter this weekend — a local minor hockey team. The young Glace Bay Miners U18 AA team’s players took an active role in engaging the community and jumpstarting the legion’s poppy campaign. All it took was a heart-tugging conversation with head coach Darrell MacAulay, and each player volunteered to help without hesitation.
“I reminded the kids how we owe our current lifestyle to the people who stood in front and fought for us,” MacAulay recalled. The Poppy Campaign seeks to raise funds to assist veterans and their families, but it also served as a teaching moment for the enthusiastic teenagers.
“Being a part of this campaign not only provides help to veterans but also allows for self-growth and self-fulfillment among the children. Opportunities to contribute to their community like this are rare for them, so their eagerness to participate speaks volumes about their character,” MacAulay appreciatively commented.
In an amazing display of teamwork and solidarity, the hockey team also presented the Legion with a $500 donation. Clements was particularly touched by this gesture.
“It’s a beautiful sight, seeing these young kids willingly volunteer. They gave up time, which they would otherwise have spent leisurely with friends or engrossed in video games. It’s truly heartening,” she conveyed.