Rebuilding broken souls and offering a hand up.
Among the many activities that go on at the Royal Canadian Legion, it's that type of restorative work that the yearly poppy drives help subsidize.
Those efforts were put into focus at Monday's PoCo council meeting, as Legion branch No. 133 president Andrew Carroll and other members highlighted the annual poppy drive campaign's kickoff this week.
In turn, PoCo council passed a proclamation designating the period between Nov. 5 and 11 as Veterans Week.
"It is an extremely significant fundraiser. It's the biggest fundraiser we have," Carroll said of the poppy drive.
"I would urge every one of you to stop and remember the sacrifices that have been made by your grandfathers, your fathers, your uncles, and now by your brothers and siblings who have served one or two tours of duty in Afghanistan and have come back broken physically and mentally."
Carroll noted poppy drive donations are placed in a trust fund meant to help both veterans and their dependents. He added many soldiers returning from conflicts opt to collect a onetime, lumpsum payment instead of a pension.
Howe ve r, he's seen instances in which those funds dry up within a few short years.
Specifically, Carroll said he's had veterans - some as young as 22 - approach the
Legion to help with rent payments, or to ease their transition back into civilian life. "Two or three years later, they start showing symptoms of what we used to call shell shock in the First and Second World War," he said.
"They've already pretty well given up their ability to collect a pension. They certainly get other resources that the Department of Veterans Affairs have for them for medical and psychological and counselling. But it falls back on the Legion, and Legion members come forward and help them."
After listening to the presentation, PoCo Mayor Greg Moore urged residents to observe Remembrance Day in an appropriate fashion.
"One of the things that has entered the vocabulary and the mind set in society is that people are calling the [Remembrance Day] long weekend like it's a time to go on holiday, like Thanksgiving long weekend or B.C. Day long weekend," he said.
"It's just not. It's not a long weekend. It's a time that we should be honouring the people that have come before us, or our brothers or sisters right now beside us."
PoCo's Remembrance Day events begin with a service from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Wilson Centre. From there, the cenotaph remembrance service gets underway at Veterans Park at 11 a.m.
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