Martin C. Barry
Royal Canadian Legion members from Branch 251 have been out selling Remembrance Day poppies for several weeks now in preparation for Canada’s annual Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.
Legion members and supporters, including Air Cadet program participants from Laval, held an official launch for the campaign at branch headquarters on Curé Labelle Blvd.
A good number of them have been stationed in various locations around Laval, including Wal-Mart stores, Maxi on Saint-Martin Blvd. and Costco on two weekends. As well, voluntary donation boxes have been set up at several Tim Horton’s outlets.
Among those helping with the poppy campaign kickoff was 18-year-old Warrant Officer First Class Gian Andrea Lacombe of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron 100 in Laval. In an interview with the Laval News, he said it was the prospect of developing his own potential for leadership that led to his joining the squadron.
Air Cadet success
Although he doesn’t yet have a license to fly motorized aircraft, Lacombe had the opportunity last summer to pilot a glider while participating in an international Air Cadet program in the United Kingdom. “Based on my experience, I feel very fortunate that we have such a good program compared to other programs,” he said. “I would say that the Royal Canadian Air Cadets is the most organized program of its kind in the world.”
Longtime Air Cadets supporter Valerie Woods, who leads a unit that meets at Laval Junior Academy, said the group now includes 115 cadets from ages 12 to 18.
“They’re mostly Laval residents, boys and girls, about 30 per cent female,” she said. “The cadets go to different summer camps. There are different activities. Our squadron also helps out with the poppy campaign here at the legion. We have a good relationship with the legion.”
Br. 251 needs new roof
While Remembrance Day comes around once annually, the Royal Canadian Legion’s Branch 251 is active all year around. Although the branch continues to operate successfully and its activities (including reasonably-priced hall rentals for all occasions) are an important part of many people’s lives, unexpected expenses do occasionally come up. Such as an anticipated roof repair.
“We have a very big building to maintain and we’re trying to raise money for a new roof,” said longtime Branch 251 supporter and board member Linda Joosen. “We own this building and it really needed to be done last year, but we have very little money set aside. We are doing everything we can. And the cadets are always very helpful with their fundraisers. We’re also asking the city to help and whoever else can as well. It’s a big job.”