Aldergrove legion branch #265 has lowered their flag in memory of the 215 bodies found at the Kamloops residential school. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Aldergrove legion branch #265 has lowered their flag in memory of the 215 bodies found at the Kamloops residential school. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Province gives $1.5 million to B.C. legion branches

With relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, a public ceremony may be possible in November, Legion said

The provincial government is sending further relief for struggling Legion branches in B.C. after a difficult 15 months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will help ensure branches can continue to provide essential services to veterans and their families, and community services across BC.

The updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises released on April 21 directly affected Legions, but they did not receive access to the Government aid provided to the industry through the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant because of their non-profit status.

The 143 Legion branches within BC raise over $2.5 million for veterans and their families through the annual poppy campaign. Branches also raise and distribute additional funds throughout the year giving back over $1 million to their local communities in BC.

READ MORE: Final phase of $14 million federal support fund rolls out to legion branches

The BC government issued funding of $1.5 million to assist branches and ensure sustainability. These funds will be received by BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion and be distributed based on need.

Val MacGregor, president of the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, said the organization is thankful to Premier Horgan and the BC Government’s commitment to honour and remember veterans and their families by supporting the sustainability of volunteer-led branches.

“As June 6, the annual date when we remember D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy approaches our 47,000 members in BC and Yukon are especially encouraged that we can continue our mission,” MacGregor explained.

Doug Hadley, president of Aldergrove branch #265, told The Star that he does not yet know how much, if any, that funding will equate to for the local legion.

A brand new electric sign went up in late-May to easier communicate hours, services, and events to passing traffic and pedestrians.

Hadley said, next to the sign, the branches’ flags will be lowered at half mast in Remembrance of the 215 bodies discovered at the Kamloops Residential school.

The flags will be lowered for 215 hours – one hour to represent and reflect upon each child’s life.

COVID-19 had previously minimized Aldergrove’s typically large-scale Remembrance Day ceremony last Nov. 11. The ceremony was significantly reduced while the public was not allowed to attend.

The Legion said with falling numbers, increased vaccinations, and a relaxation in restrictions, a large community ceremony in five months looks promising.

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