Legion is for community

Royal Canadian legion president Bob Walker discusses the work of the group.

  • Nov. 7, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Greenwood Legion president Bob Walker

KEVIN MILLS

Nelson Star Editor

 

As November 11 approaches, legions across Canada are preparing to remember all those who lost their lives to protect our freedom.

But as more and more veterans pass away, some legions have found it difficult to keep membership numbers from dwindling.

Bob Walker, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #155 – Greenwood, said membership is “steady” in his area.

“We’ve signed up enough new members to cover people who have died, moved away or quit.” Walker has been president, off and on, for about six years and points out that people don’t have to serve in the military to join the legion.

“It can be anybody, but what they are, is considered affiliates. They don’t have to have any military service at all,” he explained.

According to Walker there are several types of members – regular members who have military or RCMP service, associate members who have close family members who had military service, affiliate voting members which is any Canadian citizen, and affiliate non-voting members, anyone from an allied country that wishes to join.

But it’s not just age that is causing membership to slow down, it’s also attitude.

“A lot of the younger ones (veterans) that come back from Afghanistan and that, don’t want anything to do with the military. And they consider the legion to be part of the military.”

Walker said work is needed to educate people as to what the legion is all about.

“We have to advertise what we’re doing and what we’re here for. They have to realize that basically what a legion is, is a charity. It’s for the town, well, mainly for the veterans but, because there are so few of them, we are for the community too.”

The Greenwood Legion also works with the local school district to help teach the next generation the importance of remembering.

“Next Thursday, we have a ceremony at the high school and all the elementary schools in the area come to that. We do a full Remembrance Day ceremony.”

“It’s actually quite a big deal, it can be emotional,” said Walker.

While most students are far removed from war, Walker said he believes most of them still understand the sacrifices that were made by Canada’s veterans.

“I think most of them have the idea, it’s distant, but it’s there.”

Now 65, Walker joined the legion 35 years ago. He is a veteran of the navy, although he never saw any wartime service.

“I missed going to Vietnam by one ship. One ship went, we were the next one in line … and it was over before we had to go,” he said, adding that it was a good thing.

On Remembrance Day, Walker plans, like most of the 120 members of the Greenwood Legion, to attend one of the two memorial services being offered that day. He said it’s hard to determine how many people attend the event because of the two cenotaphs. One is in the Kettle Valley between Rock Creek and Midway.

“That’s flat out there and November 11 can be cold so a lot of the older people in Greenwood wanted to have a cenotaph in town.”

So a new one was erected in Greenwood, adjacent to city hall. Walker believes 60-70 people attend at each site.

“Everybody who wants to can go to the Legion afterwards.”

 

Just Posted

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Christina Lake welcomes new fire chief

Joe Geary made the move to the Boundary from Sidney.

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read