Letter to the Editor:
Poppies and Perseverance - An update from Legion Branch 78
The Sioux Lookout Legion remains closed for events and to the general public due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but that doesn’t mean the activity has stopped.
On September 30th, Doug Switzer made a very generous donation to our Branch by presenting a cheque to our President, Kirk Drew. As any donations are a tremendous help and thankfully received during this time, we would like to thank and recognize Doug for his ongoing support and truly appreciate his gesture. Doug’s father, Edwin A. Switzer, for whom our Legion is named after, was a dedicated war veteran who received on many occasions recognition from Command for services within the Legion.
Rest assured we are still preparing for Remembrance Day. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Command has indicated that we are not able to host a ceremony or gathering this year in honor of Remembrance Day, but we are currently exploring other avenues to provide a fitting commemoration for our Veterans. We have received approval to go ahead safely with the Poppy Campaign, while working within the constraints imposed by the pandemic. Our Poppy Campaign is the Legion’s most important program. It reminds Canadians of their need to remember, if even for a few weeks, those that gave so much for our freedoms today. Our commitment to “Never Forget” is being put to the test this year, and we must collectively stand together to support our Legion and our Veterans, where and when we can. The Poppy Campaign is an excellent place to start. Any donations collected are greatly appreciated and invaluable as they are used to provide a multitude of services, assistance and support for Veterans and their families. If required, and to allow for social distancing, we may have to remove the traditional Legion solicitors such as the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and Cadets, which you usually see carrying the Poppy trays, and focus more so on the Poppy box placement within our local establishments. We plan on beginning our Poppy Campaign on the last Friday in October which would be the 30th of this month and continue through to November 11th, at various locations throughout town. While we may not achieve the expectations of a normal year for our Poppy Campaign, as a Legion in support of our Veterans we need to try our best, and we encourage our community to do the same.
Thanks to many inquiries, we have placed an order for Legion masks from our supply store to sell to the general public. As of right now they are unavailable and on back-order unfortunately, but we are crossing our fingers they will arrive in time for Remembrance Day. More information will be provided about purchase and pick-up when they do become available, though it is likely supply will be quite limited due to the current demand for them.
At this time, our Legion is managing through the pandemic reasonably well compared to many other Legions across the country. Thanks to the continuous support from Legion members, and a successful last year, we will be in a good position to re-open once the decision is made by the Executive to do so. We do not have a date in mind for re-opening as of yet, however we have been meeting on a monthly basis to assess our financial status and our ability to meet and follow the requirements and guidelines set out by the Province of Ontario and the Northwestern Health Unit amidst the pandemic.
Though there is no need at this time for fundraising initiatives, donations are always welcome and appreciated. Even though we are currently closed, memberships are also available at any time through www.legion.ca/home or by calling the office and leaving a message to arrange a time to meet in person to pay your dues.
We want to thank our members and the public for their support and patience during these difficult times, and we look forward to the day we are back hosting the gathering of friends and the serving of cold beverages to our appreciated patrons. Please continue to check the Legion Facebook page for ongoing updates. Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Polly McCarty, Manager of the Edwin Switzer Memorial Sioux Lookout Legion, Branch #78