Letter: Langley Legion Branch 21 not gone, but changed, explains its president

Editor: On Nov. 11, people in Langley will join others across Canada and around the world in taking time to pause, reflect, and collectively give thanks to the countless individuals who sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom.

Remembrance Day is always a special, important day, but this year it will be especially poignant for the Langley Legion.

This has been a year of change for our Legion, Branch 21, which has served this community for more than 88 years. In September, the difficult decision was made to close our lounge.

Over the years, membership has dwindled and financial challenges have made it impossible to operate as we had been.

But the Langley Legion has not shut down; it is not gone. We have just changed.

We have transitioned into a service branch, with a clear focus to continue doing what is most important: raising money to help support our veterans, their families, and others in need in this community.

Langley is known as one of the most generous communities in B.C. and last Remembrance Day, local residents gave close to $106,000 to our Poppy Campaign. Collected entirely by volunteers, that money went directly back into the community, to Langley Lodge and Langley Memorial Hospital, to our local cadet corps and student bursaries. It helped surviving veterans of past wars with their health care needs and provided those returning from current conflicts with post-secondary training and service dogs that help with post traumatic stress disorder.

We hope your generosity continues this year. Please give what you can and wear a poppy with pride.

And when Remembrance Day is over, please remember that the Langley Legion is here year-round.

We have opened a new, ground-level location at 20681 56 Ave. and everyone is welcome. Many people think you need a military affiliation to join, but that is not the case — anyone over the age of 19 can become a member.

Please come see us. Coffee mornings are offered on Wednesdays, with bingo on Thursdays at 1 p.m. Stop in and socialize. See what we do and how you can make a difference.

The Legion is a non-profit organization that does not receive any government funding and Poppy donations cannot be used to run the Branch. That funding comes solely from membership fees and fundraisers.

We are always looking for volunteers to join our executive, come up with fresh ideas, or just lend a hand when they can.

Every little bit helps and it makes such a difference in the lives of those in our community who gave so much.

To help out or learn more, visit facebook.com/LangleyLegionBranch21 or call 604-534-3615.

Shirley Blair,

President, Langley Legion Branch 21

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