Remembrance Day is typically the one time of year that most people think about their local Legion. While Remembrance Day ceremonies and veterans services are a core component of the Legion’s community service, members of the Legion are busy all year round providing services and funding to the community.
Ladysmith Legion president Darlene Paulson said giving back to the community is what the legion is all about.
“Our mission is to serve veterans, which includes serving military, and RCMP members, and their families. We are here to promote remembrance, and to support our communities and our country. That’s the Legion’s mission statement, and we follow that,” Paulson said.
The Legion donates money every month to community organizations, like the LRCA Food Bank, LAFF, the Ladysmith Search and Rescue, the Air Cadets, and they give scholarships and bursaries to students every year. Paulson estimated the Legion gives between $1,500 – $3,000 a month back to the community.
When there is need, the Legion answers the call. During last year’s wind storm, the Legion did not lose power, although many in the community did. In response, the Legion opened their doors and operated as an emergency shelter. They offered free soup and buns to anyone in need, and gave people a warm shelter.
“We just did it,” Paulson said. “Basically we were like an emergency shelter. One of our member’s husbands put on a huge seafood lasagna dinner for the evening, so everybody had a nice supper. We kept the community fed, and warm… It was from the hearts of our members that were raiding their freezers, coming in and saying what can I do to help out.”
Aside from their funding of community projects, the Ladysmith Legion supports homeless veterans in the area. They also support veterans through the Wounded Warriors, an organization that helps veterans access clinical support, research, and mental health promotion to help service personnel and their families who are affected by operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Paulson said that the Legion does not typically advertise the services they give to the community. She said that she’d like to see more youth engage with the Legion, and wants more awareness around the bursary opportunities for students to fund their post secondary education.
“We’re always giving, giving, giving,” Paulson said. “Our service never stops.”