Poppy donations from people in Langley’s easternmost communities last year have gone on to do considerable good for local veterans in long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday afternoon saw the Royal Canadian Legion in Aldergrove split $16,725 between four assisted-living facilities, to help extend its residents’ mobility and freedoms.
After last year’s closure of the Langley legion branch, responsibility for the poppy campaign was split with Langley divided between the Aldergrove and Cloverdale branches.
It presented a new challenge to raising funds, Aldergrove legion vice-president Karen Hobbis said.
“But it was worth everything we went through,”she said including, “chattering teeth, knocking knees, and cold weather” she encountered whilst fundraising outside of stores.
With 216th Street the dividing line, the Aldergrove branch coordinated poppy sales to the east, including areas of Fort Langley.
The results were surprising, said legion member Lorrie Murray.
“We did very well in 2018 but this past year we topped it,” she exclaimed.
Aldergrove legion volunteers raised nearly $84,000 to assist local veterans. This included an amount carried over from 2018’s fundraising efforts.
“That money all came from the community,” Murray emphasized.
On Friday, the first amount of $4,053 was presented to Marie Lashely, director of sales for Chartwell Retirement Residences in Western Canada.
Lashely accepted the donation, which will provide Chartwell Langley Gardens with two new electric beds and 50 slider sheets.
“These beds really help residents regain their independence,” Lashely told the Star, “And slider sheets allow them an easy on-and-off of their bed linens.”
The facility faced an outbreak of COVID-19 in late March, but was declared free of the virus by May, according to Fraser Health.
By 1:30 p.m. Aldergrove legion president Doug Hadley presented Liz Harris and Leslie Gmur of Abbotsford’s Cottage-Worthington Pavilion with a cheque for $5,500.
The amount will be used to purchase a long-term care bed and mattress that when sat on for long periods of time doesn’t result in bed sores for its residents, Gmur explained.
Operated by Fraser Health, Cottage-Worthington Pavilion’s long-term care unit also faced a COVID-19 outbreak – which led to at least three resident deaths.
Aldergrove’s long-term care home, Jackman Manor, saw a $5,197 donation come from its local legion – to pay for another portable overhead lift.
“It’s less invasive on a person that is palliative,” said executive director Denise Morin.
The machine is able to manoeuvre to lift residents out of their beds and into a wheelchair, the washroom, or simply to a more comfortable position in their bed, said Morin.
The final amount given out by the Aldergrove legion on Friday, July 24, was $1,976 to Fort Langley’s Simpson Manor.
The sum will be used to purchase two Ultimate Walkers, which most of its long-term residents come to use at one point or another, explained director of care Terri Ferguson.
“Residents get to a point where they’re physically declined and they can stand and walk, but only short distances.”
“There’s this little window if you catch them at the right time and introduce the walker, you can extend that mobility and independence for months longer,” Ferguson added.
“One lady walked six months longer than she would have if we would have put her in a wheelchair. They’re amazing.”
Aldergrove legion’s remaining Poppy Fund monies will be donated to help Langley veterans, or kept in its reserves for legion service officers to provide assistance to members in need.