The Royal Canadian Legion is opening up its doors next week as it celebrates Legion Week.
Branch 171 in Ladysmith will hold several events during Legion Week from June 24-30 and is inviting residents of Ladysmith and the surrounding area to visit the branch and learn more about the Legion.
“Legion Week is for everybody, and it’s a way for us to open the doors to the public,” said Branch 171 president Roy Empey.
The branch will host a Soup and Sandwich luncheon by donation Thursday, June 27, starting at 11:30 a.m. at 621 First Ave. The Ladysmith Singers will entertain diners.
The branch will then hold an open house in the lounge Saturday, June 29 from noon to 4 p.m., along with an outdoor information booth and a free barbecue outside. Legion members will be present to offer help filling out membership applications and to answer any questions.
The Legion’s mission is to serve veterans — including currently-serving military and RCMP members and their families — to promote Remembrance, and to serve its community and country through programs and services provided directly by the branch and also by donations from BC Gaming and the Legion Poppy Fund.
In 2012, Branch 171 donated almost $16,000 from Gaming funds to programs and services and $4,000 in scholarships to students graduating from Ladysmith and Cedar secondary schools. The Ladysmith branch also contributed almost $7,000 toward support and assistance for veterans and their dependents, and $3,000 for bursaries for children and grandchildren of veterans.
“We are very proud of the assistance we are able to give our veterans and their families and the programs and services we provide for the residents of Ladysmith,” said Empey.
Past president Brian Kelly says Legion Week helps raise awareness about exactly what the Legion does.
“We’re a service club, and there’s a lot of work we do within the community that people aren’t aware of,” he said.
Kelly and Empey emphasize you do not need to be a veteran or a relative of a veteran to join the Legion.