Mayors receive their poppies
On Monday, the Ayer’s Cliff Legion’s tradition of giving the first poppies of their Poppy Campaign to local mayors continued. Legion president Susan Fletcher-Doust and vice-president Brigadier-General Robin Gagnon (ret’d) presented the poppies to Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alex van Zuiden, Hatley mayor Jacques de Leseleuc, and Stanstead East mayor Guy Lefebvre under a brief moment of sun in front of the Ayer’s Cliff town hall.
“We’re now entering our Poppy Campaign. All the money we raise through the selling of poppies is kept in the community,” said Mrs. Fletcher-Doust. That money is used in a number of ways to help Veterans and their families: college and university bursaries and assistance with educational field trips for the children and grand-children of Veterans; helping the families in times of financial difficulties; providing medical equipment; making and delivering Christmas Cheer baskets; contributing to the CAB RH
Rediker’s Meals on Wheels program which now delivers in the Ayer’s Cliff area, and more.
“The key aspect of the Poppy Fund is that it can’t be used for just any purposes such as throwing a party for Legion members. The rules are strictly respected; it’s a nationally controlled fund,” added Brig.Gen. Gagnon.
The Ayer’s Cliff Branch 128, now celebrating its 65th anniversary, has had a busy year and the membership in this ‘dry’ Royal Canadian Legion has grown to about seventy. It serves the communities of Ayer’s Cliff, Stanstead East, Hatley, Magog, Austin, Georgeville and Fitch Bay although people from all around the Eastern Townships attend the many social activities that take place in the Legion Hall such as the Fifty Plus Club, the Legion dances every second Thursday afternoon, church group card parties and the Horticultural Society’s bingos. “The community at large celebrated birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s, and anniversaries in the hall. We embraced our fellow citizens and provided a quiet place to gather and to be served luncheons following the loss of a loved one,” commented the president.
Following a flood, a few years ago, that heavily damaged the basement of the Legion Hall, members have been busy, often with the help of non-members as well, repairing, renovating and greatly improving their headquarters on Rosedale Street, thanks in large part to a generous donation from an anonymous donor. Besides a new Veteran’s Lounge in the basement, outfitted with comfortable furniture and a large pool table that was gifted by members of the community, the kitchen has also been refurbished. “An electric chair for the Lounge stairway has been sent to us from the daughters of the Carl Otto Estate, kindness of Michael Everett and friends who delivered the equipment,” mentioned Mrs. FletcherDoust.
The only way money to maintain the building is raised is through its rental for wedding receptions, parties, business receptions or other events.
This branch has made a few changes in their 65th year, both to accommodate some of their aging members and to spark an interest in Legion activities in the younger generation. “It is our routine to call each member at least once a month to notify them of the next meeting and we changed our meeting time during the winter to Sunday afternoon, followed by a luncheon. This has proven to be very popular because many of our members have trouble driving at night,” she added. “Another change is when we’ll be hosting the Armistice Dinner. We used to always hold it on Saturday night,” said Brig.Gen. Gagnon. “But having observed the increase in attendance at our monthly meetings since we began holding them earlier, we decided to hold the Armistice Dinner, this year, at 1:00 pm, right after the parade in Hatley. All the members we’ve spoken to are happy about the change,” continued Mrs. Fletcher-Doust.
Not only has the branch been able to attract some younger members of the community to join in recent years, it has also included young children in their Remembrance Day ceremonies, providing them with little white crosses to plant at the grave of the Unknown Soldier. Happy Birthday MOM! It’s your birthday Mom, So let’s raise a cheer Because without you None of us would be here! Love you Mom!
Vicky, Grant, Ken, Karl and Kayla
Ayer’s Cliff Legion president Susan Fletcher-Doust and vice-president Brigadier-General Robin Gagnon (ret’d), at the far left, kicked off their Poppy Campaign by presenting poppies to local mayors (left to right) Guy Lefebvre, of Stanstead East, Jacques de Leseleuc, of Hatley, and Alex van Zuiden, of Ayer’s Cliff.