DIGBY, NS – Purchasing a poppy is a way to remember those who’ve lost their lives to war, and also a way to help local veterans.
This is what Keith Stevens, president of the Digby’s Branch #20 of the Royal Canadian Legion, wants people to remember as this year’s Poppy Campaign kicks off. It began October 27 and will run until November 9.
It’s a cause Stevens holds dear, having lost both his father and uncle during the Second World War.
He’s been heading the Legion’s poppy campaign for nineteen years, and is looking forward to many more spent fundraising for Digby’s veterans and their families.
“It’s a nice feeling to help our veterans, and those in need,” he said.
Giving back to worthy causes
Last year’s poppy campaign raised nearly $18,000.
The funds raised then become part of the Poppy Trust Fund, which donates money to various local initiatives, individuals and causes.
Last year saw $1,200 put towards helping veterans with transportation to medical appointments, $150 for comfort blankets for veterans in hospital and $1,000 to Transport de Clare, a service many veterans use regularly.
$6,000 in scholarships was also distributed between five Digby students.
“This money is not ours – we are just the guardians of it. It goes right back into our community, to help veterans and their families,” said Stevens.
Donna Flaherty, the branch’s first vice-president and poppy campaign chairman, emphasizes that the legion doesn’t just help its members.
“Any veteran or veteran’s family can get help through the poppy fund – you don’t have to be a member. No veteran that needs help is ever turned away,” she said.
Remembering those who’ve served, and serving future vets
Stevens joined the Legion to serve the memory of those who’ve served, those who’ve passed and those who will one day serve.
As someone who felt the effects of a world war first hand, he also works to help people remember what our freedoms cost.
“It’s important to have an understanding of what people went through,” he said.
People will have an opportunity to come together and remember at the Remembrance Day ceremony at Digby Regional High School, and are recommended to arrive by 10:30.
Wreaths and crosses are also available for purchase to help raise funds. For information on sizes and pricing, call the legion at 902-245-4070.