A generous donation will help the Rossland Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 soldier through another difficult time.
Liaison Officer Joan LaFond, on behalf of the Rossland Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary, donated $15,000 to Branch 14 on Dec. 15 to assist the local Legion and seniors in need of assistance.
Branch 14 president Ray Van Den Nieuwenhof was humbled at the generosity.
“The fact that we are still going and in the black is because of them,” said Nieuwenhof. “If we ever lose the Ladies Auxiliary we’ll definitely be shut down.”
The funds were timely as the Dec. 18 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) ordered another COVID shutdown of liquor-service related businesses that went into effect Dec. 23 until Jan. 18 at the earliest.
The closure ended the Rossland Legion’s plans for Christmas Eve and New Years gatherings after the Legion had booked entertainment, and paid for refreshments, services, and other necessary expenses.
“We had sold tickets for New Years, had the sound system all set up, the band was going to come in and then they slammed this on us so we had to cancel everything,” said Nieuwenhof. “It is a massive loss.”
The local Legion has been very active over the years, with the Ladies Auxiliary raising funds at various events such as Golden City Days, Winter Carnival, and various Farmer’s Markets.
The Legion Branch 14 regularly offered live music and welcomed patrons to participate in Jam Nights, Meat Draws, and Trivia nights that raised funds for the Rossland Food Bank and others.
Legion member numbers have declined across the country, and Van Den Nieuwenhof is concerned about the future of Branch 14, which has seen its own membership drop.
Branch 14 recently was able to hold an election, but with no new members the same volunteers agreed to stay on for another year. Still, they must have a quorum of at least 12 people to continue.
“We can lose our mandate and then there would be no Legion in Rossland,” said Van Den Nieuwenhof “A lot of people don’t understand that they have their freedom due to the people that have passed before them that went overseas and fought for their freedom.”
So far, Branch 14 has managed through funding from the Royal Canadian Legion, federal and provincial grants, COVID relief funds, the City of Rossland grants and help from groups like Columbia Basin Trust.
Yet, for the Legion to flourish again, more members and volunteers will be needed.
The cost for membership is only $50 for a full year, which includes the Legion Magazine, monthly newsletter, deals and discounts through various local and national retailers, and access to their services and support system.
“It used to be you had to be a veteran, or a next of kin, or a spouse,” added Aussie Ray. “But, no, we welcome anybody to come in and join.”
To become a member of the Rossland Legion visit their Facebook page or go online at the Legion website: legion.ca/join-us.