The future of Aldergrove’s legion is being pondered, but president Deb Grey is optimistic about the prospects.
Recently, a committee was tasked with looking into what the future might hold for the Royal Canadian Legion’s Branch #265 in Aldergrove.
This past year has been hard for a lot of branches just to survive, said progress committee members Doug Tanner, Wayne Mortimore, Dave Hughes, and Ron Fowlie.
In seeking input from the legion members through a letter on its website, the legion committee presented five options – everything from status quo to site redevelopment or sale.
With feedback in hand, the legion is now ready to move forward.
“It’s very much the opposite. We aren’t going anywhere, and we have big plans for growth underway,” Grey said, offering reassurances.
“Huge moves” are already being made to alter the appearance of the facility, she elaborated.
“We are re-doing the interior for more room, to make it more cosmetically appealing,” Grey said, noting the upcoming renovations will feature a memorial wall in the main hall.
“The wall will have pictures of past ordinary members and presidents,” she said. “There will be more memorabilia on the walls of veterans.”
Pointing to the current wall of pictures, Grey said, “Up there is my dad’s picture.”
Grey’s dad, Les Staples, was a former Aldergrove legion president. He bought her a membership when she was in her late 20s, and Grey has maintained her relationship with the organization ever since.
When asked if she was always inclined to run for legion president, Grey shook her head “no.”
“I had never ever thought of running,” she said. “Members of the legion had encouraged me to run.”
There are currently 14 people on the Aldergrove legion’s executive and each member of that team is anxious to see the legion succeed, Grey said.
“We want to see this place thrive, we love this place.”
Some of the changes made at the legion include having “younger” bands perform at events.
Initially, some members were outraged when a younger crew took to the stage, primarily due to coarse language in some of the lyrics.
“That has since changed. They are so receptive now, it’s awesome,” Grey said.
“It is important to us that the community understands that most of the fundraising we do is for our charities,” the president said.
“Our legion is run by volunteers, not only raising money for our charities, but also maintaining our building and grounds,” she added. “Attendance has been good in the past and we hope and look forward to a large community presence.”
Grey concluded her interview saying that getting involved with the Aldergrove legion is “exciting.”
“There’s always something going on, it’s a social club,” she said.
The legion website notes that membership is open to those without any military affiliation.
“You don’t have to be a veteran or related to one,” Grey said. “Everyone is welcome.”
For more information, people can visit www.facebook.com/aldergrovelegion