Legion soldiers on despite low turnout

The Legion now relies heavily on its weekly meat draw to generate income.

Legion Branch 155 president Bob Walker hopes business soon improves for the club. It’s newly-covered pool table

Greenwood Legion Branch 155 has existed since 1939, but lately it has not been attracting enough of its members on a regular basis to ensure it will survive for another 75 years.

Faced with increasing competition in both the food and beverage markets, the Legion now relies heavily on its weekly meat draw to generate income, despite making improvements in its entertainment offerings.

Most recently, the not-for-profit club has invested in a karaoke system, recovered its pool table, as well as replacing dozens of chairs, all in an effort to draw patrons more frequently to the facility.

When asked why sales are not as the club would prefer, president Bob Walker shrugged his shoulders and explained he is not in agreement with some who felt the stiffer drinking/driving laws introduced in 2011 were discouraging patrons from enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

“Most members live within walking distance from the club,” Walker said, “so I don’t believe they aren’t coming because of the law. Our current membership of 137 is the highest since I’ve been president, but not enough of the members are coming out on a regular basis. It’s really quite frustrating.”

Walker cited the June 21 Summer Solstice Dance as an event for which membership initially showed enthusiasm, but was very poorly attended, and lost money for the organization.

“We can’t afford to lose several hundred dollars on an event,” Walker added, “so we are feeling a little gun shy right now about planning another social.”

He also mentioned that despite its club status, the Legion is happy to sign in non-members to meat draws and special events.

The club is currently in the application stage to extend its liquor licence to include an outdoor seating area, which Walker himself was instrumental in furnishing, as well as taking part in the construction. He transformed a stack of donated lumber into three heavy-duty, picnic-style tables, and the area was also wired to accommodate a sound system.

The club is eyeing a fall opening for the outdoor area, and hopes it will eventually entice patrons back on warm summer afternoons and evenings.

The Legion continues to donate funds to a variety of causes, including thousands of dollars for student bursaries. This year’s recipients were Grand Forks Secondary School’s Curtis Logan, who was awarded the Poppy Bursary of $1,000, and BCSS students Daina Shaw, Madeline Baia, Skylar Desjardins and Madison Harpur, who shared $2,400 in scholarships, all gleaned from the club’s weekly meat draw.

Walker points out, however, that several years ago when the draw was doing extremely well, those bursaries totaled more than $12,000.

Regular donations are also made to help stage the Greenwood Seniors Christmas dinner, as well as to Midway’s Parkview Manor for its holiday festivities.

“The Legion truly functions as a charitable organization,” Walker said, “and is always on hand to help the community whenever needed. It has helped other organizations, as well as individuals in need.”

He hopes business will pick up and that the Legion can continue to play an important role within the social and charitable fabric of the West Boundary community.